For homeless veterans, the keys to a welcoming place

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By Mark Di Ionno

David did not want to be photographed or have his last name used because life wasn’t supposed to work out this this way. When you serve your country in an overseas war and return home to a decent-paying manufacturing job, and live clean and raise a family, you shouldn’t end up homeless. But David did.

Life took a bad turn for the 67-year-old Vietnam vet when he was working at Johns Manville, the insulation factory in Manville that would become an epicenter of asbestos sickness lawsuits.

“I got a spot on my lung,” he said. “The VA said it was the beginning ofmesothelioma. Johns Manville said it was because of Agent Orange.”

So Johns Manville, which is still settling mesothelioma lawsuits, said he was a health risk and didn’t let him return to work. Ain’t that America.

But David wasn’t sick. He could work. So he scraped by for the next 30 years in nonunion construction and painting until he retired.

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