Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Wed, February 19 2014 at 4:59 PM, Updated: Wed, February 19 2014 at 7:59 PM
Klamath Falls, Ore. -- Keeping veterans from becoming homeless is the goal of a 'transition center' in Klamath Falls...but backers still need help from the public.
Retired army vet Arthur Norsey is one of four men currently living at the 'Veterans Enrichment Center'...
"I'm very helpful for the help that I've received here."
The non-profit center aims to provide help for vets like Norsey, who have completed rehabilitation services...but are still at risk of becoming homeless.
"This will provide a transition home." Explains co-organizer Eric Olson. "A place where we can hopefully set them up with computer skills, job searches, they can do online college courses here - and they have a place to call home."
Olson adds that public donations of furniture and computers allowed the center to open last November...
"The fellows that are here love it. It's absolutely, it's a warm, safe environment. There's no drugs, no alcohol."
Retired Vet Steve Graham notes that the VFW at 515 Klamath Avenue will host a spaghetti feed and raffle from 1 to 5 this Saturday as a fundraiser...
"We need monetary right now is our biggest thing, because we've got to pay for all this."
Organizers plan to apply for federal grant funding as it becomes available...to continue to help vets like Arthur Norsey...
"I'm very thankful for it, here at the Veterans Enrichment Center."
The home has room for 18 veterans.
The cost of running the center is estimated at about 75 thousand dollars a year.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.