Fighting Veteran homelessness will always be a challenge. For many, it is difficult to adjust to civilian life. While you are in, you are told where to be and when to be there. Additionally, there is always the next rank to reach or goal to attain. When you leave the service, there isn’t a roadmap, and many get lost during their civilian journey.
One couple, Marine Veteran Brett D’Alessandro and his partner, Alexa Modero, have made it their mission to help those Veterans that find themselves with nothing but a backpack. In fact, with the nonprofit, Backpacks for Life the first thing they are doing is literally improving the backpack on homeless Veterans’ shoulders.
After deploying to Afghanistan in 2014 and exiting his Marine Reserve contract, Brett started experiencing the same problems many Veterans face after deployment. After serving honorably as a turret gunner in country, he found himself without purpose. He was filling the emptiness with unhealthy habits. However, after randomly providing a homeless Veteran with a backpack that allowed the Veteran’s child to have a pack for school, Brett again found a call to serve those that were in need. Upon learning this, his long-time girlfriend Alexa, began supporting his new purpose. Together they founded the nonprofit Backpacks for Life.
How Backpacks for Life Started
They have since patented their very own pack that is created specifically with the homeless Veteran in mind. The Bowery Pack features the old sea-bag opening, a stainless cable closing and an iso mat. Their goal is to go to a one-for-one sale model. For each Bowery Pack sold, they can give one to a homeless Veteran. They are currently in their first production run and the pack should be available sometime in the summer or early fall.
The Bowery Pack
However, Brett and Alexa believe that the backpack is only the first step to fight Veteran homelessness. Their overall mission “is to provide Veterans with resources that they have trouble providing for themselves…at the same time fostering self-reliance while assisting Veterans through their hardships…”
Additionally, we talked about how Brett and Alexa met, Brett’s deployment, and how they can afford to make the Bowery Pack in the United States.
Additional Links to this Episode:
#BtBattle Veteran of the Week
- Army Veteran Bill Hayes