A charitable organization based in west-central Iowa is helping veterans who return from war and have no place to go. Retired First Sergeant John Emswiler of Denison helps lead the group called “Moving Veterans Forward.” He says MVF was founded three years ago by Ron Hernandez, who was recovering at a VA hospital after being wounded in Iraq.

Hernandez was surprised so many vets would be homeless once they were discharged from the VA. “What Ron decided to do is work with the VA as a volunteer and collect furniture and other items these homeless vets could use everyday once they got placement,” Emswiler says. Donations of household items and cash to MVF are tax deductible.

Emswiler says he’ll never forget one of his first trips he took to deliver items to a previously homeless vet. “I had to help move in a young female with a small child and she happened to be one of my soldiers over in Iraq,” Emswiler recalled. “That’s when it really hit home, when I knew some of these people and what they were up against. From then on out, I had to help.”

On Wednesday, a charity drive for Moving Veterans Forward was held in Denison. Area residents donated enough furniture and household good to fill five large trailers. Radio Iowa affiliate KDSN sponsored the charity drive.

(Reporting by Michael Earl, KDSN, Denison)