Monday, January 2, 2017

Vietnam Veteran Went From Hamburger Hill to Facing Homelessness

Veterans in need? They’ve got friends, indeed
East Bay Times
By SAM RICHARDS
PUBLISHED: January 1, 2017
Metsiou served in the Army’s 101st Airborne “for 366 days in 1968 and ’69,” he said. “I’m one of the lucky ones who made it back from Hamburger Hill,” referring to a battle against the North Vietnamese in May 1969 in which 400 Americans died and which drew criticism from some lawmakers for its questionable strategic value. His landlord consented to give him until New Year’s to find a new place to live.
Disabled American Veterans Chapter 154 vice commander Sean Poynter, of Pittsburg, unloads a child’s bicycle at the new home of Vietnam veteran Richard Metsiou, 68, in Antioch on Friday, Dec. 30. Richard Metsiou and his wife, Zitta, were facing eviction from their home in Pittsburg, but with the help of Shelter, Inc. and the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 154, the couple were able to move into a new home in Antioch. They are also raising three adopted grandchildren. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)
ANTIOCH — Finding a place to live can be an expensive challenge in the Bay Area, and for Richard Metsiou, a Vietnam veteran battling cancer and a bad credit score, an almost impossible one.

So when his longtime landlord died and her family chose to sell the Pittsburg house where he and his family have been living, he had to act fast. Metsiou needed a little help from his friends, and he got it.

Some of them were friends he’d never met before.

“A friend of mine came to me and said Richard was in a bind,” said Sean Poynter, of Pittsburg, who knows Metsiou from the Mount Diablo Disabled American Veterans post in Pittsburg, where he is senior vice commander. “I put it out in an email, that a fellow (veteran) needed some help, and all these guys showed up.”

On Friday, eight members of veterans groups from East Contra Costa County, and from Shelter, Inc. of Contra Costa, a nonprofit whose main mission is fighting homelessness, were unloading trailers in front of a house on West 10th Street in Antioch, where Metsiou, his wife, Zitta, and their three adopted grandchildren will soon live.

But before that, Poynter called Shelter, Inc. for help, and it came though big time, he said. The agency helped find an affordable house with an owner who could deal with Metsiou’s credit issues.

“They’ve been absolutely great,” said 68-year-old Metsiou, who is physically weak and also battling post-traumatic stress disorder.
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