Special Program Helps Vets Serve Their Own

If you've visited the majestic DFW National Cemetery in southwest Dallas,  you've seen the teams of volunteers and caretakers who work constantly to keep the 638-acre cemetery pristine and beautiful.

Sandy Dusenberry is one of them, finding his way there through a special program designed to help veterans out of homelessness.

"From day one, I knew that this is where I belonged,” said Dusenberry. “I was supposed to work here."

He sees his job as a gift.

"I love the land, and I love serving my fallen brothers and sisters and their families."

And it’s another chance to rebuild his own life.

"It's like getting a second service."

Dusenberry ran into some tough times over the years, all starting when he left the Marine Corps.

"I got out, and there just no structure,” he said.

Dusenberry spent some time in jail, and at some point became homeless.

"And that kind of messed my head up,” Dusenberry said.

Eventually he found his way into the Department of Veterans Affairs' Cemetery Caretaker Apprenticeship Program, which operates at 35 of the nation's national cemeteries.

"It's not a handout, it's a hand up,” he said. “It may not be for everyone, but for those of us like myself who went in there determined to come back and be productive member of society, determined to overcome, to be a success again – it’s for those people.”

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