Jerry Tovo: Homeless Veterans Project

Years ago, during my time working for Eastman Kodak Company, I met a guy named Jerry Tovo. Jerry was a photographer, former Drill Sergeant and all around interesting guy. A few weeks ago I got a call out of the blue, a deep voice that sounded both unknown and familiar. Turns out it was Jerry calling me about his latest project, book and plan. Take a look at this book below and just let it sink in. This subject really chaps my ass. Homeless veterans. I feel the same about homeless Native Americans. When I even hear that description my brain stops for a minute as I ask myself, “Wait, what?” Jerry is trying to do something about it with his “They May Have Been Heroes” project, something I think is WELL WORTH the effort to support. One of the things that stung me was the idea of 12,000 homeless women veterans. I don’t know about you, but my life is about as far from sacrifice, hardship and the front line as you can get, so I have a tremendous appreciation for ANYONE who is out there putting it on the line. Could be a sniper, mine sweeper, mechanic or cook, all the same to me. They deserve more.

Last week I was at the gym and decided to hit the sauna on the way out. This should tell you about the stress level in my life. I enter the sauna and I’m alone. A few minutes later a guy walks in and I can tell by his movements he is jacked up, not in a bad way, just in an energy way. “Hey, how you doing?” he asks. “Fine, how about you?” I reply. He looks at me and says something along the lines of, “Look, I was a soldier, I just moved down here away from my wife and kids and I haven’t had a lot of interaction, so sorry about this but I need to talk.” “Go right ahead,” I said and he started talking. I felt good about being there to talk with him, but I also felt his pain. I felt, and feel, like I need to do more. What “more” is I don’t know, but this project is a great place to start, an easy place to start, so if you can, take and use this film and post it to your channels. This issue isn’t native to the United States, not by any means, so those of you reading this in the far reaches of world, I’m talking to you as well. Let’s see if we can make something happen. We walk past these folks to stand in line for the latest gadget, or to see what Hollywood has for us, so why can’t we direct more attention their way? Post, post and repost this thing.

This last photo is tied to the letter at the end. An interesting take from the man in the image(80-year-old Korean War vet) in regard to his story and the photographer.

8 responses to “Jerry Tovo: Homeless Veterans Project”

  1. ALISON says:

    Just read this ……………….. made me stunned ,angry and ashamed in equal measures.

    Stunned………. because I didnt know this situation even exsists …. I lead a very sheltered life in rural Wales………….. ( OKAY I HAVE NO EXCUSE)

    angry……….. bacause it`s completly unnessasary and unjust ……(understatement)

    ashamed……….okay I didnt know about this PARTICULAR SITUATION.

    BUT ………….. It has made me question my self. How many “causes”, catastrophies ,down right criminal acts of cruelty and insanity. Do I say “ahhhhhhh what a shame something ought to be done” Then I DO NOTHING untill the next one rears its ugly head.

    The thing is we are all in this together . we are all responsible..

    great photo`s

    • Smogranch says:


      I hear ya. It’s a strange thing to think about. We had a community meeting here a few days ago, based on the rising crime rate in our area. Police said there were 70 homeless folks in one part nearby, but also mentioned that the Veterans service was out there once a week. Personally, I wasn’t aware of either of these facts.

    • LionelB says:

      A certainty that the crime rate as experienced as victims by the homeless in the neighbourhood is a thousand times higher than that which affects the concerned citizens who attended the neighbourhood meeting…

    • Smogranch says:


      Crime is up here due to the economy and drugs. MOST of it is quick theft, or home burglary during the day to lessen the chance of confrontation. People leave cell phones in their car and boom, window broken and gone. There are also A LOT of entitled, lazy folks here who grew up with means and pissed it all away on booze and drugs. They turn to doing things like riding their bikes down the street checking every single car door to see if they are open. They steal purses and laptops out of houses because they are either too stupid or too lazy to work.

  2. Eric Labastida says:

    Dan, I feel the same as you do when I comes to homeless vets and native Americans. There’s no other way to say it, It’s a GODDAMN shame how American society as a whole has treated the military veterans. Here son or daughter, go and take this gun and kill for us so we can enjoy life on prozac. I love this country but America is not the best country in the world, not by a long shot. There’s a saying. Countries are judged by how they treat their prisoners. That saying should also include war veterans.

    • Smogranch says:

      Well, we have a lot of issues these days, and I’m not sure there really is a best country. We are a pretty incredible place, but I think sometimes we get a bit complacent. And, we are bombarded by SO many causes and calls to action that after a while they just begin to bounce. It’s like Kickstarter photo-projects now. There are a lot. Many are good, but I also know that when I see communication from KS I skip right past it because I reached my allotment of support. I hope this doesn’t happen with Jerry’s project.

  3. Eric Labastida says:

    And what a great book. Kudos Jerry Tovo!!!!!

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