Veteran tries to help ‘homeless vet’, but finds out he is stealing valor

A disabled Army vet from Des Moines, Iowa calls out a man on the street claiming to also be a disabled veteran – while begging for help.

Troy Baer has been out of the military since 2011. The disabled vet served during Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2008-09, and served a total of four years between the Army and Iowa National Guard.

Troy found a beggar in downtown Des Moines just a few days ago and decided to record his brief exchange with the man – after realizing this was a clear case of stolen valor.

Troy says the whole thing immediately seemed suspicious to him, since the city of Des Moines has one of the best VA programs around.

“We have the best VA in the country….the VA has an on-site living area for homeless vets…don’t really see homeless vets in this area that often,” he said.

The beggar he approached on the street said his name was Dave and he was 56-years old. Dave claimed to be a vet, but his “story just didn’t add up,” Troy says.  He was holding a cardboard sign which read: “Disabled vet, please help.”

Dave claims he served in Afghanistan from 2002-2012 and did basic training in California. He had no retired ID, no CAC card.  “I don’t carry them, I ‘m disabled,” he told Troy.

After a few attempts at trying to get Dave to hand over some sort of documentation or proof that he was actually a veteran – Dave decides he can’t listen to Troy anymore.

“I’m tired of this…. if you’re not moving I am,” he says while getting up with a walker, and cigarette in his mouth. Dave attempting to get away from the man trying to offer a helping hand.

“You have a house, you have health insurance, you’ve got transportation and family –what else do you need,” Troy asked.

Dave apparently had a busted hip and scars on his legs from surgeries. He told Troy he was trying to get into a facility like an assisted living or nursing program since he couldn’t handle taking care of himself.

“I’m gonna feel really bad if you are who you say you are,” Troy says.

“I’m 26-years-old and I already got a 50% disability from the VA – if you served in Afghanistan there’s no rhyme or reason why you can’t get the help you need.”

Troy continues to try and convince the man he can get him the help he needs. “I can go to the federal building and drop your information unless, you’re bullsh*tting me and you’re not a vet.”

“I’m a vet,” Dave responds.

“Vets– we have a brotherhood… this is not the camaraderie I usually share with other vets,” Troy tells him. After realizing he wasn’t going to get anything from Dave, Troy decides to put an end to the conversation.

“Stolen valor, I guess. See you on YouTube,” Troy yells out as he heads back to his truck.

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  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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