Kent Friede, a Navy veteran who served from 1982 to 1985, has been sleeping on a mattress he found in a trash bin after he moved to Las Vegas a few months ago.
Suffering from a degenerative disease in his spine, the 50-year-old former California resident wished he could get a nicer bed.
But with the little money he gets from Social Security, Friede said he didn’t think it would happen.
His wish came true Saturday.
Friede was one of 10 veterans were given certificates of appreciation and more from Walker Furniture in a ceremony at the American Legion Paradise Post 149. The company teamed up with the veterans organization for the new Help for Heroes program.
Friede said the bed will help relieve some of his chronic back pain.
“Much like the American Legion, Walker Furniture has been an intricate part of Las Vegas for many, many years, and since our inception it has been an important part of what we do to give back to the community,” said Walker Furniture CEO Larry Alterwitz.
The recipients were also treated to lunch courtesy of Famous Dave’s.
American Legion is a volunteer-based organization that has a mission of veterans helping other veterans. It played a big role in helping Walker choose who to help.
“We wanted to give the help to the veterans that needed the most help. After the submissions came in, we made home visits and found out what their needs were,” said Kevin Ward, past post commander for Post 149.
Awarded were a variety of furniture items ranging from lift chairs to adjustable beds and dining sets.
David Baum, 42, served in the Navy from 1990 to 1991. He recently won his disability case and was nominated to the program by a close friend who wanted to help him.
“The only furniture I have at home is a broken desk and an air mattress. It would have taken me six months to a year to be able to save up for a bed like this,” Baum said.
Due to his fibromyalgia, a disease that attacks the muscoloskeletal system, he has to walk with a cane.
Baum said veterans receive little help.
“There is almost no help for veterans. The VA does not have the resources,” he said.
But he does see a bright future ahead. “Things are getting better and in Vegas really respects veterans,” said Baum
For the furniture company, the partnership with American Legion represents an opportunity to help those who often get overlooked, said Patti Gerace who is in charge of Walker’s marketing department.
“This is a great opportunity for Walker to be able to get involved with the veterans and help them. They are so forgotten. They are trying to get help and they can’t. This is our first one but we do plan on doing it every year,” said Gerace.
Contact Paulina Rojas at email@example.com or 702-383-0206.