On Monday, Dec. 7, a special corporate team of competing companies delivered over 1,000 coats to the Cherokee County Homeless Veterans Program (CCHVP) in order to deliver these coats to veterans and their families in need of them ahead of winter.
The coats were delivered to the program, which is part of American Legion Thomas M. Brady Post 45 and the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 45, based in Canton, Ga. The coats were collected courtesy of the Georgia Pest Control Association (GPSCA) which comprises competing companies located throughout Georgia. Although normally these companies compete, they came together to create a coordinated Veterans Committee this year. “We are intent on making pest control an industry of choice for veterans in Georgia. We do this by serving veteran needs within our industry and the communities we service. I have a relationship with the CCHVP, with whom Arrow Exterminators has partnered with on many community projects," noted GPCA co-chair Xavier Cugnon. "This year GPCA PestVets petitioned all of its member companies throughout the state of Georgia to collect coats for homeless veterans. It was a coalition between pest control companies, service organizations. and the communities we serve. In all over 45 service centers participated in collecting the coats."
Within 24 hours of receiving the coats a team led by Betty Lewis, president of Unit 45, sorted and packaged the coats by size and age group and then was able to find homes for over 460 of them; within a week over 1,200 coats were distributed to help veterans, to include homeless veterans, low-income veterans and their families across the state of Georgia as well as a veterans outreach program to several counties in Appalachia.
The homeless veteran population in Georgia is grossly undercounted, and therefore Georgia is underfunded in federal aid directed to help them. Organizations such as CCHVP are the often the only bridge that veterans in need have to come off the street or get the help they need for their families, added CCHVP Director/Post 45 Service Officer Jim Lindenmayer. We have worked with our corporate sponsors for the past two years on a winter coat drive and other projects as part of Operation Comfort Warriors to provide as many services to our veterans in need as possible.