Rocking it for homeless veterans

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homelessRENO, Nev. — When Shane Whitecloud meets a homeless veteran, he often thinks: “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

A few years ago, the Navy veteran had been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease — a painful and often debilitating disease that affects the digestive tract — that required surgery, medication and bed rest. He lost his job and his insurance; was going through a divorce; and was trying to care for himself and a young son.

“It got tough,” Whitecloud, 39, said. “It got to the point where I was worried how I was going to make my rent payment. I had friends who came out and helped me a lot. I had one friend who would bring me groceries and I had other friends who came forward and helped me out financially so I could make my rental payments and get by. It took several months.”

Now a case worker for the Reno-based Northern Nevada Veterans Resource Center, Whitecloud’s job and his passion is to help homeless veterans.

In one of his part-time jobs, that of a professional musician and lead singer in the southern rock band Seasons of Insanity, the passion to help veterans carries over.

Whitecloud, who also works part-time as a disc jockey on Reno radio, has long hair, tattoos and piercings.

“I don’t think people know I’m a veteran when they first meet me,” he said with a laugh. “I’m not exactly the clean-cut sight you’d expect. There was one time I was supposed to be working at a Reno Homeless Connect event for the Veterans Resource Center; they wouldn’t let me in at first. They thought I was homeless.

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