ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – This Veteran’s Day, a local Marine has a new set of wheels, and a new perspective on life, thanks to help from an Albuquerque nonprofit.
Michael Lunsford grew up in a patriotic family, so when he joined the Marines in 2009, it felt like a good fit. After a tour in Afghanistan, and four years of service, he returned home to Alamogordo, New Mexico to be with family, but had a difficult time adjusting to civilian life.
“The world of a veteran is different because when you’re in the military everybody is working towards one goal, like let’s accomplish something for this purpose, but when you get out of the military everyone is just doing their own thing.”Michael Lunsford, U.S. Marine
He fell on hard times, battling homelessness, and substance abuse, but after more than a year of living on the streets, Michael’s life began to turn around. He was sent here to Albuquerque to go through rehab at the Salvation Army. After graduation, the V.A. Hospital linked Michael up with Heroes Walk Among Us, a nonprofit that helps military veterans get back on their feet.
“These are the men and women who give us our freedoms, and when they fall down and they need help its our job to give them a hand up.”Shane D’Onofrio, Heroes Walk Among Us
They helped Michael find a job and a place to live, but there was one thing missing, a way for him to get back to Alamogordo to see his daughter. So, the nonprofit, a generous Albuquerque woman, and a local auto body shop worked together to fix up a donated car. This Veteran’s day, News 13 got to be there as they donated the vehicle to Michael.
“It’s really exciting for me because I haven’t had a vehicle in years.”Michael Lunsford, U.S. Marine
Michael says he feels the best he has in a long time, and is looking forward to a bright future surrounded by a strong community of fellow veterans.
To learn more about Heroes Walk Among Us, or how you can help other local veterans in need, click here.