The season of giving continues in Great Falls where the Angels In Camo program hosted its ninth annual holiday gift drive on Wednesday.
The program helps out veterans who are in need during the holidays.
Connie Walter, the Angels In Camo facilitator, said this year the program is helping out 39 families.
The program pairs a veteran with a sponsor, the sponsor obtains a wish list, and the sponsor then buys the gift for the drive.
Walter said, “It’s a program that is serving veterans in need right here in our community. Its people you see walking down the street, it’s people you see at the grocery store. It’s important because it’s local.”
For one veteran, this program has helped him come full circle.
Seven years ago Angels in Camo helped Jeremy Allen when things were really tough for him and his wife. He was disabled and had lost his job. Allen said, “I moved up here to Great Falls from Butte and that Christmas was pretty slim for us and it was looking pretty bleak.”
He was asked to sign up for the Angels in Camo program, where it was explained to him it was a program similar to Toys for Tots but for veterans.
He added, “We ended up getting so much more than we expected and it totally blew our minds.”
Allen and his wife have since been on their feet since then and has started his own company.
He believes he has now come full circle in the program because now he is a sponsor and donates back. “That spirit of giving that Angels in Camo gave us really has inspired us to continue on the tradition now that we’re able to,” said Allen.
Allen said it breaks his heart to see his brothers and sisters out on the streets, “It is important to give back to our vets. They’ve signed on that dotted line how many ever years ago for an amount not exceeding and up to their life and a lot of times they come back from wherever they’re at and they have tough times. It’s hard to get a job and it’s hard to re-assimilate back into civilization.”