Unselfish Brevard residents help needy veterans behind the scenes


Published:

Veterans in Brevard County are fortunate to have those who work to make life better for the men and women who served in the Armed Forces.

There is no doubt Brevard understands the value of what veterans do for the nation and for freedom.

I know of some of that unselfish work that is being done on the Space Coast and beyond for veterans in need.

Unfortunately, some of those who served end up homeless or in need. Some live in poverty, while others, because of illness or other misfortune, have little to live on.

However, there are people like Bob Doyle and Don Pearsall, who teamed to make sure that the needs of some of those veterans are met.

Doyle, operations director of the Brevard Veterans Center on Merritt Island, just cannot see a veteran in need and not try to help.

“We’re going to take care of our veterans the best we can,” he told me.

Doyle gets supplies from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA gives him supplies it must distribute well before it is due to expire.

Pearsall, the VFW District 8 commander over 13 posts in Brevard and Osceola, helps to distribute the thousands of MREs, military Meals Ready to Eat, for those veterans in need.

“We have some stockpiled for emergencies,” Pearsall said of the MREs, water, tarps and eight generators. “Right now, I have everything stored in my garage.”

Some of the items are stored at the Veterans Center so it can be readily available to help veterans.

There will be supplies available to help those veterans living in the woods or in homes they would need to evacuate during a hurricane.

“We want to set up centers where they can go,” Pearsall said.

Doyle said 8,000 meals were sent to the Florida Panhandle immediately after Hurricane Michael. Food and water can be sent out quickly to a disaster scene.

The emergency food and water has been used to help other groups that need it in Brevard and beyond.

The VFW District 8 — with attention to Post 12167 of which Doyle is commander — received the VFW’s 2018 National Commanders Award for its work to combat hunger.