Updated: Friday, 11 Nov 2011, 10:36 PM MST
Published : Friday, 11 Nov 2011, 10:01 PM MST
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) - Navy veteran Shane D'Onofrio is asking a simiple question as he works to get homeless vets off the streets: What would you give for veterans who have given us everything?
D'Onofrio has created the "What Would U Give" Foundation, a nonprofit which helps gets those vets off the street, educate themselves and find jobs.
D'Onofrio,a disabled vet himself, said he was struck by the sight of so many veterans struggling.
"It's sad," he said. "In some sense we are turning our backs on them because they are homeless.
"They don't have jobs or whatever they need. We should owe that to them."
The Navy veteran has been taking vets off the streets for many years and allowing them to move in temporarily with his family until they can get off their feet.
Now he has transformed a huge metal building in his backyard into living quarters for the veterans and has already housed 25 in the last year.
The donated building is complete with living quarters, kitchen, living room, a computer lab, massage area, workshop and warehouse where they gather food to take to vets still living on the streets.
One of the disabled veterans living there now is an Iraqi veteran and Purple Heart recipient named Jason. He was shot during his second tour of duty in Iraq and found himself homeless after returning home.
Jason said he had to quit his job when he decided to go back to school and that left him without enough money. Still. Jason was pulling a 3.8 grade point average while staying under bridges in Albuquerque.
D'Onofrio found him and brought him to Rio Rancho a few weeks ago. Jason is now working to get a degree in engineering.
D'Onofrio believes a handout isn't a good thing and said these vets are often too proud to take one. So the vets staying with him earn their way by helping D'Onofrio help other vets.
They are also building old fashioned footlockers to sell and raise money for the organization.
While D'Onofrio gives his entire disability check each month to the cause, it isn't nearly enough. So D'Onofrio has set up a the What Would U Give website for donations and to build awareness about his organization in the community.
D'Onofrio can be contacted at (505) 217-2230 or (505)401-9879.