UNIONTOWN (KDKA) — A local military veteran has given up the comforts of home for a whole month to live outside, but it’s all to raise awareness for those less fortunate.
Brandon Rumbaugh, a veteran of the U.S. Marines, says he’s one of the lucky ones. He can choose to go home at any time, but that’s a luxury that thousands of homeless veterans don’t have.
Rumbaugh is hoping his plan will shed some light on the problem.
He sits in the shadow of the “Iron Mike” statue in Uniontown’s Marshall Park.
“Twenty percent of all veterans are homeless. How? That’s what goes through my head. How?” says Rumbaugh, who is also a double amputee.
Since Nov. 1, Rumbaugh has been living homeless. It’s not for attention.
“This whole thing is a lot bigger than me,” he says.
No. it’s for awareness.
“By taking myself away from my house, taking myself away from my shower, I feel it’s gonna do something and people are gonna see that,” Rumbaugh says.
Many people have been stopping by to bring food or just show their support.
The people of Uniontown are amazing,” Rumbaugh says. “The past 2 days I’ve had easily 300 people come up here, walk up, talk to me, shake my hand, give a donation, ask what they can do.”
Vickie Ohler also stopped by. Her boy is a Marine.
“Him being out here raising awareness about the homeless, it could bring up something about PTSD and other things that our veterans are going through. They’re going through a lot, a lot,” says Ohler.
This is a special month for veterans. Of course, there’s Veterans Day. But also, Nov. 10 marks the birthday of the Marines Corps.
But Rumbaugh won’t be partying; instead, he’ll be continuing his mission out in the park. It’s a mission that will end on Nov. 29.
“Nov. 29, that’s the day I was wounded in Afghanistan,” he says.
A day the young Marine lost his legs but not his spirit nor his determination to take care of fellow warriors.
“I might be missing my legs, but it doesn’t take away the fact I can be passionate and still give back at the same time,” he says. “I figured if people saw me doing this it’s gonna get them thinking, ‘What can I do to help?’”