Greenlaw Foundation’s Doug Greenlaw raising awareness, funds for homeless veterans

Greenlaw Foundation’s Doug Greenlaw raising awareness, funds for homeless veterans

The Greenlaw Foundation, a nonprofit established to fund programs focused on veteran homelessness and suicide, is working on a new project designed to tell the stories of veterans now living in the streets of some of America’s largest cities.

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.

Now a retired media executive with extensive experience in both television and radio programming, Greenlaw, who lives in the Upstate, said he is working with several organizations that serve veterans, including Miracle Hill Ministries.

“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.

“I’m going to go in with the professionals and room with homeless vets to have them tell me their stories,” he said. “The iPhone is an amazing tool. I’ll be uploading these videos back to the foundation website.

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.

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