Fired Up BBQ kicks off Happy Days Soiree

Congressman Webster presents the U.S. Capitol flag to co-founders Ron and Lin Wilensky

Good energy and inspiring stories filled the room at the Fired Up BBQ, sponsored by Sonny’s Random Acts of BBQ, earlier this month as the Dave’s House team recognized the board of directors, host committee and volunteers for their dedication to our cause. Our special guest Congressman Daniel Webster showed his appreciation for the impact Dave’s House is making in the community by presenting co-founders Ron and Lin Wilensky with a flag that flew over the United States Capitol as an auction item for the upcoming Happy Days Soiree. “Ending veteran homelessness in Central Florida is possible, and the proven housing model that Dave’s House has introduced to this community is critical in solving this issue,” Webster explained.

To add to the conversation Andrae Bailey, CEO of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, introduced the group to a very inspiring gentleman named David Williams. “David went from homeless to someone who is helping other homeless people in need, but he could’ve never done it without someone caring enough to help him out of the place he felt he could not get out of on his own. And that help was in the form of housing. And that’s why Dave’s House is so important,” he said.

Bailey and Williams have become fast friends since meeting at the launch of the Commission’s Veteran Surge Training in July. Supported by Dave’s House leaders, this outreach initiative is a collaborative effort with the local Veteran’s Affairs (VA) and Homeless Services Network and is designed to find every homeless veteran in Central Florida. Williams explained that he had only recently discovered the services available to homeless veterans. His mission now is to help others like him that don’t realize help is available.

In less than a month, David has already been approved for housing and is volunteering every day to help others. “I’m proud to be an American. I’m more proud to be a veteran. And now is the time for me to fight for our community by helping my veteran brothers get off the streets” he concluded, initiating a standing ovation.

Dave’s House community partnerships are presenting new opportunities to support this population of homeless veterans. Thanks to our partnership with Wells Fargo, we are excited to announce we are in search of our first Dave’s House for veterans. Fundraising efforts from the Happy Days Soiree will help fund this initiative.