Greenlaw Foundation’s Doug Greenlaw raising awareness, funds for homeless veterans
Vietnam veteran and two-time Purple Heart recipient Doug Greenlaw, the foundation’s namesake, says funding for programs geared toward reducing veteran suicide and homelessness rates has dipped during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A homeless vet is five times more likely to commit suicide than other veterans,” Greenlaw said. “We’re out to raise money in these troubled times. The veterans — as always — have been put to the side and valuable programs based around veterans suicide prevention and homelessness have, too.”
An Army officer and combat leader in Vietnam, Greenlaw was shot in the leg, recovered, went back into combat and was later devastated by a booby-trapped artillery shell suspended from a tree. He was 23.
“It was a transformational experience,” he said.
“They have a model on how to eliminate veteran homelessness and I’m looking at funding them,” he said. “I think we can build something, together. We can’t stop veteran homelessness but we can bring the net number to zero – we can find solutions for them as they come in.”
As part of the effort, Greenlaw plans to use his iPhone to document homeless veterans’ stories, starting in Greenville. He’ll then coordinate with shelters in New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles to gain in-person, on-camera interviews with homeless veterans there.
Greenlaw said that, as one who led others in combat, he feels compelled to help veterans, now.
“It makes me feel good, because I’m helping them,” he said. “I’m not Napoleon or George Washington, but I’m an average guy who came up through the ranks and I understand some of those leadership principles. And they work.”
Editor’s Note: Doug Greenlaw is chairman of the company that owns the Greenville Journal.