WHEATON, Ill. (WLS) --Memorial Day ceremonies had a special meaning for a group of veterans in suburban Wheaton. They are homeless, but they are getting a helping hand from another vet who knows exactly what they are going through.
Wheaton's Memorial Day parade made its way through town, coming to a rest at the cemetery where high school students continued to play for a special ceremony honoring the fallen, especially local soldiers.
Present for all the festivities were these red shirt wearing men. They are homeless veterans living at the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans in Wheaton. Monday, the shelter had its own event honoring fallen heroes from Wheaton and a resident of the shelter that died three days ago.
The 7-year-old facility is the brain child of Bob Adams.
"I came home from Vietnam in 1969 and encountered several of the same kind of problems the gentlemen in our house have gone through," Adams said.
After years of alcohol, drugs and homelessness, Adams turned his life around in 1985. Ever since, he has devoted his time to helping veterans.
"I served in the Marine Corps and our motto is we leave no one behind," he said.
And at the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans that means making a homeless vet self-sufficient again. Edward Ratke and Ricardo Chalk say they are well on their way.
"It is a wonderful feeling to get a second chance again, to be re-associated with my family back in church, it's beautiful," Chalk said.
"I can finally see a huge light at the end of the tunnel," said Radke.
Both men have jobs and are hoping to move out in the fall. Monday reminded them of their accomplishments in the military rather than problems they had afterwards. While shelter residents credit Adams for saving their lives, Adams says Memorial Day is a reminder for the soldiers who couldn't be saved in Vietnam.
"I got to come home, I got to live my life but I will never forget the men who did not come home to this country with me," he said.