Two non-profits support veterans with practical gifts

Through simple gifts, non-profit groups hope to help veterans with the struggle to overcome mental and physical scars.
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 10:55 AM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - With all else that is concerning these days, two non-profit groups join together to give back to veterans for their service.

Through simple gifts, the groups hoped to help veterans with the struggle to overcome mental and physical scars.

The gifts were things familiar to them: military boots, rucksacks and parkas.

Boyhood friends and army veterans Shawn Gibson and John Noble stopped by the Longview location and were gifted the items free of charge.

“Totally unexpected. Grateful. A lot of this stuff just brings back a lot of fond memories also,” said Gibson.

“Had no idea any of this was available. Knew about the service stuff and people in need, but not this,” Noble said.

For Veterans Sake service dog organization and Counting Stars Ranch, a non-profit that hosts weekends for veterans and first responders, wanted to give veterans more than just kind words. Rather, they wanted to give tangible gifts to show their appreciation.

“We run veterans retreat weekends once a month and just love on all the veterans who come out. I’ve seen vets that have never opened up to their loved ones. Healing goes on,” said Counting Stars Ranch Owner David Smithers.

“I’m PTSD. I’m already 100% through the VA. One of my go-to comfort things is my dogs. That’s what really drew my attention,” said Noble.

The community is learning about the veterans along the way.

“Shawn and I grew up together, cub scouts, went in the army,” John said.

For Smithers, an army vet himself, these groups mean a chance to help in a way he’s always wanted to.

“I was unable to serve in any of the wars, so I’m building a village to help serve now. All the proceeds, 100% of the proceeds, go to taking care of the vets and their families when we have our retreats,” Smithers said.

For the friends, the stop was well worth it.

“Not only support the effort but raise awareness, but also get the information for ourselves being we’re in the same situation,” said Noble.