LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- We hear of veterans receiving honors like medals, or being saluted at events or as they exit planes. One local veteran was recognized with a very special gift.
Don Whitecotton is getting comfortable in a 2008 Nissan Pathfinder, a gift from two organizations: 'Keys to Progress' and 'Recycled Rides'. The groups give them to vets with hardships.
"This is our Vegas jackpot," Whitecotton said.
The Naval veteran served in Operation Desert Storm in the early '90s.
Just this past year he moved to Las Vegas from California. He was homeless, and for a short while, was actually living in his car with his wife, Denise. Soonafter, their car was stolen.
"...stolen back in October, because we didn't have the funds to get the car back from where it was taken to in California," Whitecotton said.
They both have health issues, and Whitecotton says he's had some hurdles receiving disability. Jon Fennych, Commander of VFW 10047 has been trying to help, and he also submitted Whitecotton's resume and story to receive a car. And when he received the news, he was not surprised at all.
"He needs to get it and they did. They never asked for help. They never asked for a handout. I say the Lord took it and gave it to them," Fennych said.
The gift was presented with a little Vegas flare to lift the spirits of a man who fought for freedom and this is a gift of liberty for him.
"It means freedom and we're able to pay back to people. We'll be able to do things for other veterans that are down on their luck too," Whitecotton said.
And he knows, but he also knows the driving force of a little faith and patience.
Several dozens of cars were given to veterans across the country, after being refurbished through this national program. The cars had previously been involved in accidents or stolen.