LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- Readjusting to home life after time on the battlefield can be difficult for many veterans and 7Everyday Hero Randy Baria does his part to help make that transition easier.
Baria is a Purple Heart recipient who spent two years serving in Vietnam and a lifetime trying to move on.
"Everybody is brothers and arm in arm and side by side every day and then you come back home and you're kind of alienated," Baria explains.
Baria knows that war does not always end for veterans when they return home. They are often expected to just pick-up where they left off. And when you factor in PTSD or a traumatic injury, the challenges are even more difficult.
Today Baria gives his time at American Legion Post 178 in Lakewood. He is dedicated to helping fellow veterans make the transition back to civilian life.
"It satisfies me to help people, especially veterans and get these guys going again and help where we can because they need it. I suffer from a little PTSD and keeps me busy and it takes away from that," Baria said.
Baria helps with several programs at Post 178, including an upcoming family poker event called Randy's Run.
"It's just a big in-house poker run with a BBQ, and live music, and a live auction, and a silent auction. Everybody is invited. Bring your wallet, buy something, and have some free beer while it lasts and some good food," Baria said.
Last year Randy's Run raised $10,000. This year his goal is $15,000 to $20,000.
"50 percent will go to the post and this year 50 percent will go to Project Sanctuary," Baria said.
Project Sanctuary is a Colorado-based non-profit that helps families move from battle-ready to family-ready.
"We really believe if we can reconnect and reunite the families and give them the tools they need to be successful, they can be part of the community again. We offer therapeutic retreats with a two year follow up. This year we'll probably serve about 200 unique families," said Heather Ehle, CEO and founder of Project Sanctuary.
They can do that, thanks to veterans and outstanding volunteers like Randy Baria.
"Maybe if they had had something like this when I was younger I would have been a lot better off than I was for a couple years, but everything is good. I have a wonderful wife and a good family and I'd like to see everyone have that," Baria said.
The Randy's Run fundraiser will be Saturday, July 15 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the American Legion Post 178, 1655 Simms Street in Lakewood.