Broken Arrow Veteran Uses Computer Skills To Help Homeless

Friday, November 9th 2012, 5:20 pm
By: News On 6

A Broken Arrow veteran is giving back to the community through trying to help the homeless find jobs and get back on their feet.

Gordon Holmes knows computers.

He's owned his own computer business since the early ‘70s.

For the past three-and-a-half years, he's been helping people at the Day Center for the Homeless get online and get their lives on track.

Dan Bewley: "What do you get out of it?"
Gordon Holmes: "Helping people. That's the biggest payback of all when you can actually say, 'By golly, talk's cheap but you did help someone today.'"

Holmes served in the Army for four years just before the Vietnam War began.

He said when he came back to the United States he had very difficult time adjusting, and it's that experience that has driven him ever since.

Four years ago, he decided to use his skills with a mouse and keyboard to help the homeless.

Once a week, he comes to the Day Center to help people search for jobs or apply for housing. In one instance, he was able to make a big difference by doing something as simple as helping one man set up an email address.

"He started searching around, he found one of his relative's e-mail address, he sent them an e-mail and they responded very openly and warmly and he is now back in contact with his family," Holmes said.

One of Holmes' favorite projects is Community Voice Mail. It allows Day Center residents to have a private phone number, so if a prospective employer calls, they're less likely to miss the call.

Day Center officials say what Holmes' has done there is life changing.

"[What Holmes has done] leads to their success at becoming self-sufficient," said volunteer coordinator Debra Dester.

Holmes said he's just doing what anybody else could do, but he's proud of what he's accomplished.

"Those situations will move you. More than once, I've left this building with tears in my eyes and you know you've done something to help your fellow man. That's the bottom line," Holmes said.

The Day Center is always looking for volunteers. If you're interested you can call at 918-556-6418.