The story on the radio stopped Jeff Rose in his tracks. He was shocked to discover there were so many homeless veterans in northern Michigan and many thousands more across the United States.
So he did what musicians do. He wrote a song, called Homeless of the Brave. He and Detour bandmate Missy Armstrong played it the first time at a Veterans Day event, and the standing ovation encouraged him to keep playing it.
But he didn’t stop there. When he and other members of the band Detour added the song to their terrific project, A Better Place, they pledged proceeds from the song to a shelter for homeless veterans.
Earlier this month, Jeff and his bandmates delivered a check for $1,000 to the Patriot Place in Gaylord, Mich., a shelter for veterans affiliated with Goodwill.
“I wish that first check could have been for $10,000,” Jeff said. “Our goal is make so much money on it that all the needs in Michigan are met, and they can start sending money elsewhere.”
The song isn’t overtly political, but it does have a jarring chorus:
It’s time we stand up and say
there’ll be hell to pay
if another soldier dies upon these streets.
In the richest land on earth
please tell me what it’s worth
if we let them go down in defeat.
Oh, there has to be a way we can save
those living in the land of the free
and the homeless of the brave.
The song is a perfect reminder on Veterans Day that many who fought to give us so much now have so little. And it’s inspirational that Jeff and the other members of Detour are standing up and fighting for them. You can join the fight by downloading the song.