ATLANTA — It was a typical Saturday morning for David McDonough as he was driving to work. As he was about to pull into the parking lot, he spotted two men pushing another man in his wheelchair up the hill.
"I asked him where he was going. He said he was trying to get a ride downtown and that he didn't have any place to stay," McDonough told 11Alive's Elwyn Lopez.
Lee Sailers, 70, told McDonough he was a homeless war veteran.
"It would've been great to have given him a ride up the hill but the idea that we've got, you know, got him potentially set for the rest of his life is unbelievable," McDonough said.
While the resources were there, the Vietnam war veteran had no roof over his head, much less a computer or a car to get the help he needed to get his benefits.
"He's been frustrated for many years about the process feeling like he's alone and never got the gratitude he deserved for his service in the Vietnam War," Deborah McGarry said.
McDonough added that the application process to obtain the benefits can be difficult for those who don't have someone to help them.
"It's a challenging process and it's difficult for people who are in a compromised situation to even know where to go and be able to follow through," he said.
McDonough and McGarry put him up in a motel that Saturday in hopes that, on Monday, they would be able to take him to a shelter, but McDonough said finding a shelter to accommodate Lee's mobility needs was a challenge.
"Based on the mobility, based on the need in Cobb County, based on the demand for the services that are available, you know it was very difficult to get something short-term," he said.
Now, they were hoping to find a long-term solution for their new friend.
"We have driven all over Atlanta, in and out of the wheelchair, singing songs in the car, classic rock and just having a blast but at the same time it's been very stressful to figure out what our next move would be," McGarry said.
They turned to their Oakhurst neighbors and other veteran services for help. The support from strangers and friends alike was overwhelming. McDonough said he would receive donations to his Venmo account to help them with the costs.
"You know, you look at it and it's just like 'Hey, there's another 50 bucks, there's another 70 bucks," he said.
Lee said there were two major things out of his control while being homeless: the weather and the people he encountered.
He said he hopes the kindness he felt from McDonough and McGarry will be an example to everyone, even if you don't have the ability to help.
“Smile, act like you’re kind, even if you’re not, act like you are anyway, there’s no point in being mean and vicious to people," he said.
Governor Kemp's Constituent Services Office has been working closely with Congressman Loudermilk’s Office to provide assistance to Lee Sailers. That's what McGarry thinks helped to expedite Lee's admittance into the Georgia War Veteran's home in Milledgeville.
McGarry said she will be taking Lee there on Monday. And McDonough said he will be getting him a fishing rod for the lake there - one of the things that Lee is most looking forward to.