• Homeless vet now has roof over his head

    By: Bob Ward

    Updated:

    BOSTON - It is a new beginning for John DeGraff. 

    For the first time, in a long time, the homeless U.S. Navy veteran has a roof over his head and a nice, warm bed. 

    When he first saw his new room, "I was almost ready to cry," Degraff told Boston 25 News. 

    For 11 years, DeGraff was living in a tent, isolated, in the woods of Boston. 

    I recently caught up with John in those woods. 

    The story aired a week ago, and it caught the eye of Felicia Turner, at Volunteers of America of Massachusetts in Somerville.

    "I'm like, Wow, 11 years. He shouldn't be on the streets, so I want to help this guy. He just seemed like a humble guy who needed help," said Felicia Turner, who contacted Disabled and Limbless Veterans, the nonprofit volunteer group that found John in the woods, and worked to get him out.

    Mike McNulty of Disabled and Limbless Vets, said DeGraff and veterans deserve more. 

    "Here is John, who put the uniform on to defend his country. He doesn't belong living in the woods," McNulty said.

    Over the weekend, McNulty and Disabled and Limbless Vets President Dom Marcellino brought DeGraff to Somerville's Massachusetts Bay Veterans Center, and showed him his new room.

    "He's a changed man in 24 hours. He is different than he was yesterday: a shower, a clean bed, a nice warm room," Marcellino said. 

    While DeGraff is no longer living in the woods, he's not out of the woods yet. He's going to need counseling, which is available. 

    "He's going to have to learn how to live in an atmosphere that's totally safe, because where he's been, he's living in an atmosphere that is unsafe. Anything could happen at any time," said Anthony Joseph, program director.

    But now, for the first time in a long time, John DeGraff is in from the cold.

    "I know there's a lot of good people out there," he said. 

    If you would like to learn more about Disabled and Limbless Veterans, or to help them out with a donation, go to www.dlvets.org.

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