Few may have known Andrew Barreras, Gary Cunningham, Richard Sanders and Armand Trujillo, but a ceremony Thursday in Colorado Springs was designed to keep their names in people's memories.
The four men were homeless military veterans who died in the past year. Organizers held a brief ceremony for the second consecutive year at Memorial Park to honor homeless veterans.
Cunningham, who served in the Air Force, Sanders, an Army vet, and Barreras and Trujillo, formerly of the U.S. Navy, were given military honors. A small audience attended the event.
Navy veteran Bunny Blaha, a volunteer organizer and advocate for homeless veterans, said the area has an estimated 460 homeless veterans. She said they aren't necessarily living on the streets, but have temporary housing with friends or relatives and are unable to provide housing for themselves.
Blaha said she knew three of the deceased veterans, and that their comrades have served in every conflict since Vietnam. There are many reasons for the number of homeless, she said, including emotional, physical, economic, medical, legal, employment and family issues.
The veterans honored Thursday received services from the Crawford House and other local programs. Blaha said there are enough programs to meet needs, but not enough money to fully fund them.
"What they need are jobs," said Blaha. "They also need more of us to understand the many issues they deal with."
If you'd like to volunteer or donate to help homeless military veterans, contact Blaha at 719-471-8527.