From homeless to hopeful: The best Veterans Day ever

From homeless to hopeful: The best Veterans Day ever »Play Video
Paul Burton at home on Veterans Day 2013.

Watch KVAL News for more on Paul Burton's story

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - What a year 2013 has been for Paul Burton.

The 56-year-old Air Force veteran says this is the best Veterans Day ever.

KVAL News first met Burton at the Egan Warming Center.

"We high-tailed it over here and heard it was going to be 27 degrees," he said at the time as he took shelter with his small dogs. "I just, I stay up hours just kind of thinking about it, thanking God for the opportunity."

Burton served in the Air Force in the post-Vietnam era. He had worked in the RV industry in Lane County, but lost his job in 2007. His unemployment ran out in 2011.

By January of this year, he had been living on the streets for 16 months.

In the spring, Burton got a hand up from St. Vincent De Paul's Vet-Lift program.

In May, he moved into a temporary apartment and started a 6-month training program.

Now, with the help of the Veterans Administration and HUD, Burton has moved into a more permanent apartment. He plans to start a training program towards a new career after the first of the year.

Burton said that, by being homeless himself, he has learned not to judge the homeless.

“We all have our crosses to bear,” he said.