Clayton officials, vet work to help county veterans in need

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By Tammy Joyner

Terry Smithson left the army nearly four decades ago but the Clayton County vet is still trying to look out for his fellow soldiers.

The 65-year-old former helicopter pilot has become a familiar face among vets in Clayton, especially the down-and-out. Many of those he comes in contact with are suffering from drug and alcohol abuse and mental illness. He brings food to them on Friday nights from the American Legion Post 258, where he’s the chaplain. Calls to the Legion from vets struggling to save their home or feed their family are usually routed to him. Many are unaware of the services available to them or have no idea where to turn for services. Many often have to go Stockbridge or Atlanta for help.

There also are at least a half dozen vet-related groups such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion in Clayton but they don’t have central clearinghouse linking their efforts.

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