Veterans helping veterans get by during shutdown

American Legion members visited veterans Thursday on a membership drive.
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The real effect of the government shutdown is being felt by millions of people forced out of work and others losing important benefits, like Indiana's veterans.

Outside of Washington D.C., Indianapolis has more war memorials than any other city in America. So the old war axiom that you "never leave your wounded behind" really means something here.

With the government shutdown in Washington, you will find many groups reaching out to help. For the American Legion, it's veterans helping veterans.

"It's sad when you are stuck in a house and there is no one there and veterans are family. They are supposed to help each other," JR Moweary told American Legion representatives through a half-opened door.

A Vietnam veteran, Moweary is asking the Legion for help. The Legion is asking Moweary to renew his membership. Because of the lack of progress in Washington, they need each other to survive.

The lack of death benefits for the families of fallen troops hit him particularly hard.

"It broke my heart," he stated.

He is not alone.

"That is the worst thing I feel that can ever happen to a member of the armed forces," Ed Harris added.

Harris served during Korea and Vietnam. Now he serves as 11th District Commander of the American Legion, which is putting on a big push for membership this weekend, culminating on Saturday.

"We are having a veteran's service program out at Wayne (at) 9 a.m. Saturday morning if you've got questions or need help with VA benefits. We will have service officers there 9 to 3, all day Saturday. Come out and talk to us," Michael Brady said from behind the fence in Anthony Rust's front yard.

"Right now I've had a lot of trouble. I've been talking to a lot of people and I am still waiting," Rust said.

Rust renewed his Legion membership, but he looks at Washington D.C. with contempt.

"Be honest with you, I don't have no faith in my government right now. They kind of let me down on a lot of things," he shared. "I just feel as though they don't care."

The Senate Thursday passed legislation to provide benefits to the families of the fallen. The House did the same on Wednesday. Now both sides are arguing over whether the government has the authority to pay it. For the time being, the Fisher House Foundation is picking up all burial costs.