By Vickie Thomas

DETROIT (WWJ) – For the first time ever, The John D. Dingell VA Medical Center is serving as a warming center for veterans and their families in Metro Detroit.

The effort is being led by the American Red Cross, Veterans of Foreign Wars and AMVETS, as well as by volunteers from the Detroit VA Healthcare system.

WWJ’s Vickie Thomas spoke with Bill Browning, Chief of Volunteer and Community Relations, and Browning said that they are just looking to provide relief and expose veteran resources.

“It’s no secret that the weather has been unforgiving to Detroit residents lately,” Browning said. “We’re just trying to provide a space with cover for veterans for the time being.”

“We also want to bridge the gap between the night-time shelters that open up and help them take advantage of some of the benefits that they have and health care opportunities,” he said.

Veteran Lee Morris, who served eight years in the Army, stopped in for a cup of coffee and left a bit of advice for his fellow veterans out there who continue to seek a warm escape from the frigid temperatures.

“They definitely need to get off of the street,” Morris said. “Right now we’re dealing with conditions that could kill somebody, so they need to take advantage of what’s available.”

Browning and the VA Hospital have also provided cold weather gear for those seeking shelter at the facility, as the area continues to deal with the current deep freeze.

“We’ve been able to give out over 500 pairs of gloves and hats the last few days,” Browning said. “We also received a huge shipment of blankets from the American Red Cross and have been able to hand out over a 1,000 blankets during that same time.”

Temperatures will continue to remain below the freezing mark this week , with winds expected up to 30 mph on Thursday. Friday will be the warmest day with a high of 29 and 1-3 inches of snow expected on Saturday.

MORE: Dangerously Cold Temperatures Linger In Metro Detroit

Know before you go: Keep it tuned to WWJ Newsradio 950 for the latest forecast duringtraffic and weather, every 10 minutes on the 8s. See the live, local radar now at this link.


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