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Service members give back to veteran housing facility in Oceanside

Giving back to those who’ve given so much. Today, Wounded Warrior volunteers had a day of service at a housing facility for veterans in Oceanside. KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne was there.

One generation of service members giving back to another was the message of Thursday’s day of service at Interfaith Community Service’s veteran transitional housing in Oceanside.

“We decided to come out and do some projects. Redoing their outdoors... their living spaces... just to kind of make them feel more at home,” said Adriana Macias, program manager for Wounded Warrior Battalion West.

Members of the Wounded Warrior Battalion volunteered to get the work done.

“It also allows our recovering service members to get back into the community," Macias said. "Most of them will retire out from Wounded Warrior Battalion, so it's incredibly important for us to get them reintegrated back into the community and help them find a new purpose.”

Tatiana Dodson was one of the volunteers. One year into her service with the Marine Corps, she got diagnosed with an unknown condition that made her unfit for active duty.

She’s now recovering with the Wounded Warrior Battalion.

“It definitely does help to feel like I'm still in the fight even though I'm not doing my regular (military occupational specialty) within the Marine Corps, I can still do things like that and still feel proud about myself and being in the Marine Corps still and feel like I’m actually doing something," she said.

Volunteers got tools in their hands and got to work on the courtyard.

“Just coming out to beautify the place. We want them to feel comfortable," said Curtis Winfree, program manager for Interfaith's 64-bed veteran housing facility. "Not just a transition but you know it's important to us that they transition the right way, in other words, show them that we really care.”

“I've been here for a year now in March," said Brian Brown, a resident at the Veterans transitional housing. "Going to contractor school, totally transforming my life and my perception."

He was living in his car for 9 months and coping with alcohol before entering Interfaith’s program.

“Just grateful … grateful to be a part of something that's totally focused on increasing the quality of people’s lives," he said. "We come together here after we show up not so well.”

Brown hopes to pass his contractor's test in a couple of months. He said events such as this inspire him to help service members struggling with life to get back up again.