NEWKIRK — Native journalist Cody Griesel has banded together with a Marine Corps veteran named Michael Rix to help homeless veterans.
Rix is a chaplain with Chaplain’s Federation Ministries International who has been working to gather donations for veterans.
“This guy is my roommate and has bad diabetic problems, and is supposed to be in a wheelchair,” Griesel said.
“During the years I’ve spent working as a journalist, I’ve seen a lot (of) charities and have helped out with a few of them, but I usually just report the pertinent information and don’t become deeply involved.”
The efforts of Griesel and Rix will bring clothing, blankets, and camping gear to the homeless vets of Oklahoma City.
“Even a somewhat cynical journalist sees a spot where they can help out another person,” Griesel said.
“When I found myself last weekend buying an old military surplus sleeping cot from a garage sale, I knew this was one of those times.”
The duo is working to collect warm clothing items, bedding, gloves, sleeping bags, socks and rechargeable cards for fast food restaurants.
“The food cards allow the vets to oftentimes not only enjoy a hot meal, but have a chance to clean up in a real bathroom and warm up while they’re at it,” Griesel said.
“That can be a serious morale booster for these guys. I can’t save the whole world, but I can help some of these guys make it through the winter a little better.”
Rix added that many homeless vets in one area near the OKC waterfront had children living with them, sometimes in a vehicle or other type of simple shelter — if they are lucky.
“Can you imagine being a homeless child at Christmastime?” he said.
Rix is fighting his own battles, as well. He is enduring his own health problems and hoping one day to deliver the items he has collected on his own two feet, instead of from a wheelchair.
The plan thus far is to take all of the items they collect to Oklahoma City sometime in the next week.
Donations are being accepted now at The Newkirk Herald Journal office in Newkirk, Oklahoma.
“The more stuff we can get, the better,” Griesel said. “Rix can elaborate more on what is needed to help these guys, and would be glad to talk and answer any questions.”
The pair request that no cash donations be made.
“It’s much easier to handle the warm gear and food cards, and then there’s no question about where the donations are going,” Griesel said.
“Thanks to all (who) have helped — you’ve done more than you’ll ever know to help someone else have a warmer holiday.”
For more information, call (580) 362-3081.