York veterans shelter to celebrate first anniversary

Christopher Dornblaser

In October of last year, Veterans Helping Hand shelter opened in York City.

The shelter was a project of Vietnam War veteran Sandy Walker, who started working on the shelter in 2011. He died at age 63 in March 2015 and never got to see the shelter open.

On Friday, the shelter will celebrate its one-year anniversary.

“We always knew that once we were able to get the building up and running, we would be able to fill a need,” Sandy Walker's daughter, York City councilwoman Sandie Walker, said Wednesday afternoon.

At noon Friday, in the shelter at 412 W. King St., Sandie Walker will speak to those who helped make her father's vision a reality.

York daughter carries on father's legacy for veterans

One year: Sandie Walker said her father wanted to create the shelter to assist veterans.

“My dad being a Vietnam veteran … he sought out a lot of guys who were his fellow Vietnam veterans,” Sandie Walker said.

In the last year, the shelter has helped more than 100 York County veterans.

“It made me very proud, because it just shows the heart that the York community has when it comes to giving and supporting,” she said.

She said the shelter was set up because at the time there was no shelter dedicated to helping veterans and assessing their emergency needs. Sandie Walker said the shelter assists veterans with both short-term and long-term needs.

Yorkers 'fill the truck' for vets

“There are a lot of resources out there for veterans,” she said, adding that many don't know the resources exist. She referenced benefits veterans might get but which might take a while to kick in. The shelter is there to assist veterans in the meantime.

Wesley Elfner, 3, of Mount Wolf, hands supplies to Deb Shaffer to box up as the Susquehanna Post #2493, Auxiliary and Jr. Unit, along with the National  Veterans of Foreign Wars & Auxiliary,   hold a "Fill the Truck" event at Bobcat Creamery for Mr. Sandy's Veterans Center, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016. The center will celebrate its first anniversary Friday. John A. Pavoncello

“If they need a place to stay, they have a place to stay the night,” she said.

Sandie Walker said it was heartwarming to see how people in the community have been helping the veterans. She said veterans have already given so much for the country.

"We have to make sure we take care of them," she said.

For more information, check the shelter's Facebook page.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.