CINCINNATI – When three women discovered 73-year-old Ed living in the overgrowth of brush along River Road, they decided they couldn't turn their back on him.
"It's really sad because he's a homeless veteran," said Gabrielle Williams.
Ed is not alone in that regard, says Josh Springs, executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition. Twelve percent of homeless people are veterans, and that number is continuing to rise.
But thanks to Williams, her friend Charley Fiorini, and dozens of their Facebook followers, Ed has a chance to get back on his feet.
Williams and Fiorini met Ed last week, gave him a meal, took him to get a haircut and shave and began sharing his story on social media.
Their friends responded with more help – and even a used SUV.
"People got to meet him and know his personality in posts and stuff. It really took off," Williams said. "It's kind of crazy and he's off the streets."
There are many other Tri-State homeless vets who could use some help, too, Spring said.
"A lot of this can be tied to consequences of war like PTSD and other illness," said Spring.
"For a veteran who's been told, 'You've got to be hard. You have to be tough. You gotta just stick it through,' saying, 'You know, I'm not making it right now on my own' can be very even more difficult."
As for Williams and Fiorini, they were glad to help, and Ed was grateful.
"He was thankful for the company and seeing people and just people spending time with him and visiting him," Williams said. "It was crazy. I couldn't stop thinking about him."