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Founder of Furniture Program for Previously Homeless Vets is Awarded

Apr 14, 2021 12:00AM ● By By Ernie Larson, American Legion Legislative Action Post 861

In the image from left to right: Ernst Larson, Adjutant; Diana Squire, wife; Dwight Davis, father-in-law and WWII veteran, Lisa Harnett, daughter, Frank Squire 2020 LOTY for Post 861; Don Sparks, 2nd Vice Cmdr; and Don Harper, Post 861 Cmdr. Photo provided by the American Legion

Founder of Furniture Program for Previously Homeless Vets is Awarded [5 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

Frank Received the Outstanding Member of the Year Award for the Year 2020

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - ABC Channel 10 News aired a 90-second prime-time special on Thursday, March 18, at 6 P.M. highlighting Frank Squire, U.S. Army veteran and member of American Legion Sacramento Legislative Action Post 861 in Sacramento, California, and his Furniture Program team which picks up and delivers home furnishings to newly-housed, previously homeless veterans.

Previously, on Thursday, January 21, 2021, Frank received The Outstanding Member of the Year Award for the year 2020, for his work with the program, presented by Cmdr. Don Harper, American Legion Sacramento Legislative Action Post 861. COVID restrictions required some good old-fashioned American ingenuity to devise a way to surprise Frank with his well-earned award, so, with a “Honey-Do” list of distractions provided by Frank’s wife, Diana, a self-described military brat, Cmdr. Harper was able to assemble a small unit of retired ‘ne'er do wells’ from the post, including Bob Fitzgerald, Air Force; Don Sparks, Army; Dwight Davis, Navy WWII; Ernie Larson, Army;  Lisa Harnett, daughter, and, of course, Diana.

Five years ago, Frank began volunteering at Mather VA Medical Center in California by providing rides to patients in need. It wasn’t long before Frank found himself being asked by Volunteer Services to deliver some items of home furnishings to the new living quarters of enrolled formerly homeless veterans at the request of Mather VA social workers who were implementing the HUD-VASH program The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program is a collaborative program between HUD  and VA which combines HUD housing vouchers with VA supportive services to help homeless veterans and their families find and sustain permanent housing. 

With Diana’s support and encouragement, Frank’s furniture delivery program grew along with other hospital programs, and he found himself coordinating the work of several volunteers from within American Legion Post 861 and VFW Post 10125 as well as family members, friends, and even veterans who received furniture. Eventually, Frank was paying for as many as seven storage units himself, and delivering furniture to Woodland, Davis, Jackson, Elk Grove, Del Paso, and to all cities in the Greater Sacramento Area. These home furnishings have been picked up from donors by members of the volunteer furniture team, and were initially stored in 10’x20’ commercial storage units and delivered to the new living quarters of enrolled formerly homeless veterans at the request of Mather VA social workers who are implementing the HUD-VASH program.  As the program grew, so did the storage requirements that were not donated. Frank has been struggling for several years to get help from Mather VA and local government to provide storage facilities, and to acquire some financial support from local Veterans Service Organizations to help take some of the load off, so he wouldn’t have to continue paying for the needed storage units himself, but without much success.

Over the years, volunteers who have helped Frank with the furniture delivery program include Diana Squire, Dana & Ruth Johnson, Roger Meier, James Sullivan, William Holmes, Ed McDaniels, Brian Womack, John Lowe, Brent Downend, Peter & Lisa Harnett and their son Owen and daughter Lily, Mike Harris, Janet Whetstone, plus several formerly homeless vets.

CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU, Frank, and to all of you who have volunteered your time, hard work, vehicles, and gasoline to deliver home furnishings to many hundreds of grateful formerly homeless veterans!

For more information on how you can donate home furnishings, help with pick-up and deliveries, or to help support the program financially, please call Frank at (916) 468-2038 or e-mail him at [email protected]. To learn how you can join American Legion Sacramento Legislative Action Post 861, please contact Ernie Larson at (916) 483-7162, e-mail: [email protected], or Cmdr. Don Harper at (916) 201-4443, e-mail: [email protected]. Visit us on Facebook at American Legion Sacramento Legislative Action Post 861. The American Legion is now open to all veterans honorably discharged since December 7, 1941. That’s good news!

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