Paying it forward to the veterans for the holidays

Q: We just heard about a program for homeless veterans through the American Legion Post 45. Can you tell me about the organization and what might be going on for the holidays?

A: You are referring to the Cherokee County Homeless Veteran Program, a subgroup of the American Legion in Canton.

Retiring from the corporate world in his mid-40’s, Jim Lindenmayer looked for a post-retirement project. Visiting numerous cities and counties, realizing that “no one wanted to believe or admit they had a problem,” Lindenmayer said he decided to focus on homeless veterans.

“Many of the guys think if they ignore the problem long enough it doesn’t exist,” said Lindenmayer, the service officer of Post 45 and CCHV Program Director.

It started Veterans Day 2014 and covers different veteran’s groups in Cherokee County. Over 500 veterans have been helped, Lindenmayer said.

“Most people think of veterans twice a year: Memorial Day and Veterans Day. The problems are out there 12 months a year.

“Veterans are proud and don’t like to ask for help, but we don’t do charity,” Lindenmayer said. “Everything we do is to pay it forward, regardless of time served.”

The Veteran Home Repair program works with Habitat for the Humanity and the Home Depot Foundation to make sure veterans can get through the winter.

“We are trying to increase awareness that these are free programs for the vets and the push is to get them to live in a house longer, ” said Lindenmayer.

The Adopt a Veteran program runs through the middle of December. It focuses on veterans in assisted living and nursing homes as well as those challenged by finances, disabilities or homelessness. These veterans will be brought together for a community breakfast in early December.

The locally filmed movie “Charlie’s Christmas Wish” will be shown Nov. 8 at the Elm Street Cultural Arts Center in Woodstock. Lindenmayer says it deals with two social issues: A homeless veteran situation and a veteran with PTSD.

“December 21 is the longest night of the year,” said Lindenmayer. “So if you’re homeless, it represents the longest night you’ll be out there on the street – in the dark, in the cold.”

A candlelight vigil will be held at the Nation’s First Homeless Veteran Statue at Cherokee County Veterans Park (7345 Cumming Highway, Canton) at sunset.

For more information or in need of help, contact Jim Lindenmayer at or 678-983-7590.

For information about “Charlie’s Christmas Wish”, visit

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