The weather has changed a bit from what seemed to be an early spring to the return of winter that is seen normally in the Central Valley during February, which typically includes cold temperatures with wind and rain. There are many people in need around the region, including those that could use a blanket or a coat and CEO Duke Cooper with American Veterans First (AVF) wanted to help fill that need.
“The weather has been very cold lately and on Tuesday it was pretty cold,” noted Cooper. “We try to look out for veterans first, however, it has been really cold so I give them a coat if they need one. I have had several people come up to me and say it’s the coat guy.”
For the past few months AVF has hosted a coat and blanket drive knowing that winter was not over yet. They donated over 200 coats and 150 blankets to people in the area that do not have a home as well as providing the items to over 100 veterans.
Cooper loaded his truck up with bags of coats, blankets, socks, and sleeping bags that were collected at AVF with help from iHeart Radio, the Veterans Center and Veterans Services in Modesto. Many people from Oakdale, Riverbank, and Modesto donated items for the cause. The goods were distributed to the Salvation Army, Gospel Mission and people that were out on the streets or in parks. Locally, coats were distributed to folks in Oakdale at William Meyer Park.
“The reaction from the people makes what we do worth it,” said Cooper. “They were so polite and kept giving so many ‘thank you’s’ and ‘God Bless.’ People that complain the most have the most. Those that don’t have much tend to give more and more freely.”
American Veterans First is a volunteer organization that helps veterans and those in need and Cooper headed up the recent drive to deliver some warmth. He also gave out hygiene packs that included soap, baby wipes, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes and other necessities.
“I just think it is important to get out there and meet these people and find out what the needs are and what I can do to help,” stated Cooper. “I think everybody should visit the Salvation Army.”