Pay It Forward: Fighting for Veterans

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

GALESBURG, Illinois - Brenda Weinberg can hardly get to the door of the "Defenders of Freedom" house in Galesburg before Bob Spears stops her.

The house is a haven for veterans who have nowhere else to turn and Brenda wants to thank Bob for his efforts.

"Well Bob, for all you do for serving your country and your fellow veterans, I nominated you for the 'Pay It Forward' with WQAD and Ascentra Credit Union and they chose you to get 300 dollars," says Weinberg, who often recommends Bob to the men and women she serves at the Veterans Affairs Clinic in Galesburg.

Inside a home on Galesburg's southside is room enough for three veterans to stay, get back on their feet, and try to get their lives back on track.

"This is our home, it's been completely remodeled," said Spears.

"The Church gave it to us for a dollar a year."

Over the past year, Bob Spears has helped a dozen men reclaim their lives.  Some moving forward with work or school, though some falling back onto hard times.
But all of them worthy of a second chance after serving their country.

"We can't fix people," says Spears.  "We can only help them so that's what we're here for: to help as many as we can."

"Bob gives above and beyond for any veteran who needs anything," adds Barbara Weinberg.

"He never asks why they need something.  He just asks what they need and he's right there."

Today, Bob gives a tour of the home to members of the V.A. Clinic.  It's been open for just two years and he's already preparing to build a new home to handle as many as a dozen men.  This house would then be used to help women veterans in the years to come.

"We'll try to help veterans in need anywhere," says Spears.

For ten years, Bob worked at the Rescue Mission.  But he's seen a growing need to rescue fellow Vietnam-era veterans and those other men and women who served in times of war and peace.

"What he's trying to accomplish and everything, it's a good thing a man such as him is doing this," says volunteer Bud Stewart.

"It's just good to know I can call Bob," adds Weinberg.  "In a minute he'll be there no matter whatsoever."

Because for Bob Spears, this Defenders of Freedom House is needed now more than ever.

"All I know, there's a lot of us out there that are hurting in our lives, that we need a friend."

Bob credits the First Church of the Nazarene for helping the "Defenders of Freedom" house.  They let him use it for a dollar a year.

If you want to nominate someone for our "Pay It Forward" award, just click here to get the nomination form.