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For some local nonprofits, honoring veterans is a daily routine

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CONNECTICUT -- Veteran's Day, November 11, 2018, marks the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I when the Allied powers signed the Armistice with Germany.

"Freedom is not free and our veterans sacrifice so much for keeping us safe here in the United States," says Steve Cavanaugh, the co-founder of the Connecticut Chapter of Houses for Heroes, who held a breakfast to raise money for veterans. "Also all those that never came home... they never got to live their life so Veteran's Day is a very important day to remember."

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, since the beginning of the celebration of Armistice day after World War I, the United States has been involved in five major military conflicts.

Today, Veteran's Day encompasses the honoring of veterans who have served since World War I.

"Stuff like this when you come out and have a breakfast and support a public service veteran or military veteran; it’s a great way to celebrate Veteran's Day," says Carol May, the Chairwoman for Houses for Heroes. Her husband, Bill was a veteran and helped co-found the Connecticut chapter of Houses for Heroes before passing away in 2016.

Celebrations across Connecticut honored veterans for their service Sunday. For people like Carol and Steve, who run the Connecticut chapter of Houses for Heroes, honoring veterans is a daily ritual.

"We do free one-day home repairs for veterans who have physical or financial needs," says Cavanaugh.

Veterans don't only need help with the external struggles of their life. A lot of what they’re going through is internal. Who better to help them deal with those struggles than a fellow veteran?

"I can’t pay them back, but I can pay it forward," says Raymond Hayes, a Vietnam War veteran. "I can find other guys who need help."

Raymond Hayes is a Vietnam War veteran who may not have made it home without the help of two mystery soldiers who found him lying unconscious on the mud.
He now suffers from PTSD from the war. The VA says he is 70% disabled.
He donates his time to veterans like himself who suffer from PTSD by taking them out on his boat, aptly named Pay 4ward, to sail for a day.

He tells us his next memory after collapsing in Vietnam is waking up in the hospital.

"I was never able to think the two guys who saved my life, but I can pay forward," says Hayes. "I can find other guys who need help and help them just by a day of sailing just by recreational therapy."

A yearly day of remembrance brings out historical stories from the people who experience them firsthand and reminds others to thank and help our veterans every day of the year.

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