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Man helping vets reconnect with civilian world

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An Austin man has a plan to help vets reconnect with the civilian world and at the same time it's helping him reconnect as well.

Charles Bishop is creating a website to help vets. It has a simple premise: the vet posts their story on the site where civilians can read through them and if they choose, they can offer services or support directly person to person.

"We need to do something different and this is what I'm hoping will be the difference, which is to bring them back into society," Bishop said.

The site, when it is launched, will be called

It was inspired in part by Bishop's father, a Vietnam vet who died of cancer he says from Agent Orange.

However, the site was also inspired by something else.

"I prayed," Bishop recalled. "It's true I prayed and needed help. I needed to feel part of the community and I always wanted to do something to give back to help."

While Bishop had the inspiration and passion, he didn't have the computer know-how. That's where Austin Free-net stepped up to help and taught and guided him through the web design process all free of charge.

"We literally helped him get from digital illiteracy to digital literacy, and so that's what we do at Austin Free net," said Executive Director of Austin Free-net Juanita Budd.

There is one thing about Bishop we failed to mention and it makes this story extraordinary. He is homeless, since last march he's been living at the ARCH, the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless.

He has also been in trouble with the law and actually did time. However, he says that is in the past, and this passion to do something for vets is leading him forward to be the kind of person he wants to be.

For Austin Free-net he's been the ideal client.

"People get excited about helping others and we can see people go from homelessness to getting a job and then self-sufficiency, and that's what we all want," Budd said.

Beyond that this website to connect vets and civilians who want to help also is a means of redemption and re-connection for Bishop who for years had lost touch with his wife and four children.

"We're talking now," Bishop said. "We have talked warmly for quite some time now. I can feel that in our conversations so it's a dream come true. When I say it I mean it.


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