Gala to provide help, hope to returning Colorado veterans

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DENVER -- Another 150 soldiers are set to return to Fort Carson this weekend, after spending the past seven months in Afghanistan.  But what awaits them when they return?

Housing, jobs, mental health care can all be tough to find.  But a local charity called Veteran’s Passport to Hope has a plan to help - and they've enlisted some veterans who've been through the difficult transition to civilian life themselves.

Conor Overstake knew his future was about to turn upside down, on a September morning in 2001.

“On the day of 9/11 I was sending resumes to the World Trade Center,” Overstake told FOX 31 Denver.

He had big plans to go into finance and become a wall street big shot until that day.  But like it was for so many others, the attacks changed everything.

“For the first time since Pearl Harbor, we were attacked on US soil, so I felt very strongly about doing something like that,” Overstake said.

So he joined the Marines, and spent the next few daring years as a helicopter pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan.  When it came time to leave, transitioning out of the military was easier for him, than for many others.

“It just breaks my heart to think there are these guys who don't have an outlet or a community to embrace them and give them hope,” Overstake said.

Understanding that need is why he joined forces with Veteran’s Passport to Hope, a Denver-based charity that came up with this website, called The Veterans Resource Portal.  It's one-stop shopping for veterans easing back into civilian life.  Need help finding housing?  They've got it.  Need mental health assistance?  It's right there too.

“If they need help with something like finding a mentor, or a resume and translating what they did in the service to a skill set to getting someone to hire them, we have it,” Overstake said.

Next Thursday, October 16, Veteran’s Passport to Hope is throwing a fundraising gala to raise money to help returning veterans.  Even the number of returning troops is growing thin, there is still a huge need.

The deadline to buy tickets is Sunday, October 12.  Get more information on the event, and purchase tickets for yourself or a veteran here.