Huffington Post just profiled local Rio Rancho Economic Development hero, Shane D’Onofrio, for building and running a veteran services center, literally, in his back yard. He rounds up struggling veterans from the community and provides shelter, work space and support needed to get them back on their feet. I wrote this article about him, last month, in the NM Business Weekly. It’s great to see him getting national recognition!
Shane D’Onofrio, N.M. Veteran, Uses His Disability Check To House Homeless Veterans
It’s an understatement to say that Navy veteran Shane D’Onofrio would give the shirt off his back for his fellow servicemen.
The Rio Rancho, N.M. veteran actually dedicates his income to vets in need, according to KOAT.com. D’Onofrio reinvests his disability check — about $1,700 each month — back into What Would U Give, a nonprofit he started a few years ago designed to help other disabled veterans get off the streets while building community development and helping veterans achieve their after-military life goals.
“The idea was, why don’t we start something here locally to help our veterans, brothers and sisters, that are on the street?” D’Onofrio told the news source. “And find them a place to live.”
New Mexico is home to about 5,000 homeless veterans, but D’Onofrio hopes that by letting the veterans explore their avenues of interest at the housing facility will result in a successful move into employment, and out of homelessness.
“We’re trying to find what their niche is and let basically emphasize, push them forward to it,” D’Onofrio told KOAT.com.
Still, D’Onofrio isn’t the only veteran taking that bond of service seriously. Many like him are drawn to the continuation of service work through the skills they gained while in the military.
“[Veterans] don’t want to drink beer and share war stories in some dark beer hall,” William McNulty, a Marine who co-founded the disaster-relief nonprofit Team Rubicon, told The Huffington Post. “What they do want to do is continue their service.”