Thursday marks 8th year for homeless event ‘Operation Park Ranger’

Thursday marks 8th year for homeless event ‘Operation Park Ranger’

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Jon McLane says he came back from his time in Iraq, after serving as a member of the armed forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and he assimilated to society pretty easily. McLane worked, doing a variety of things like being a contractor, entrepreneur, and hosting a radio show. All of that changed after the Occupy Tucson movement. It’s then that McLane says things changed and he became homeless.

Now, years later, McLane is back on his feet and not only is he doing well and supporting his family, he’s also committed his life to supporting others - the homeless veterans who are going through the same struggles he did.

“You know I feel so blessed in my life now to not have to be homeless and not have to experience that and not only do I not have to experience that, I can get other people out of that where they live pretty comfortably as well," he said.

So how does he serve the local homeless vets? Through his organization Veterans Rescue Mission, and specifically at this time of year through Operation Park Ranger. Thursday, Jan. 17 kicks off for the eighth year in a row for Operation Park Ranger.

“Our plan is to go out there for a week, set up cots for people at night," McLane said. "During the day do some outreach, primarily just informing on the services that are available for them.”

McLane will spend his days and nights through Tuesday, Jan. 22 on the streets extending a helping and loving hand to the men and women going through what he once went through. McLane says as a Christian who’s guided by his beliefs in his life, he feels that this sort of work is his calling.

Even though he says he feels anxious because of the way Operation Park Ranger triggers memories of his life on the streets, McLane also says it’s completely worthwhile.

"It’s going to be a struggle. It’s going to be trying. It’s definitely not going to be an easy venture. I’ve been down this road before but I’m proud to do it.”

If you want to donate to Veteran Rescue Mission for Operation Park Ranger they’re taking donations of humanitarian aid items like blankets, water, socks, etc. at 99 South Church A.K.A. Safe Park Tucson.

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