Selma man fights to care for veterans

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 21, 2003

Bruce Hill speaks with passion when it comes to veterans.

Hill, recording secretary with the Selma-Dallas County Veterans Transitional Home, said that 23 percent of homeless people are veterans. Eighty-nine percent of those homeless veterans received an honorable discharge, he added.

He hopes to change that.

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Hill has served as recording secretary for about three months. The office, located at 816 Selma Ave., is a resource for veterans. When people in need come to Hill’s office, he directs them to various available services.

Hill also assists people directly. For example, one person needed help with filling out a change of address form so his medicine could be delivered. Another person needed assistance with transportation to Montgomery for a doctor’s appointment.

Hill found the position after meeting with William Hasberry, president of the transitional home. After the meeting, Hill became interested in helping and decided to pitch in.

Hill said he wants the transitional home to do more for veterans. Plans include opening a home that veterans and others can use on their pathway from homelessness to having a job.

Hill also noted that he wants a training program in place that teaches people skills to enable them to escape homelessness.

In order to walk, the transitional home needs donations.

Hill said two fund-raisers have taken place already and more are on the way.

His fingers are crossed in hopes of a grant, but if one doesn’t come through, it’ll come down to the kindness of the community.

In the meantime, Hill works on programs such as the home’s monthly meeting.

On the first Tuesday of each month veterans meet and share information and try to solve their problems.

Guest speakers also make appearances.

Hill, himself a veteran, entered the service shortly after graduating high school.

He graduated on a Friday, went to Montgomery on a day trip that Monday and was enlisted and in South Carolina that night.

After three years of service, Hill received a business degree and lived in California for 25 years.

But there was something about Selma that drew him back.