Pay It Forward: Phoenix woman helps get veteran off the streets
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
In south Phoenix, underneath the Seventh Street Salt River bridge are the signs of a transient living.
"He was into drugs at the time I met him, really, really bad," said Belen Ventura.
Ventura is talking about Ryan Zimmerle, an Army veteran who fell through the cracks.
"In and out of jail, in and out of jail," she said.
But Ventura saw hope in Zimmerle and helped him get off the streets.
"He sleeps really good here," Ventura said as she pointed to a bed inside her guesthouse.
Ventura also takes Zimmerle to his appointments at the VA hospital.
"I'd probably be dead without her," said Zimmerle.
"What an angel," said Bob Kish, who works at the VA hospital in central Phoenix.
Kish was surprised to hear this story about a stranger who helped a veteran in need.
"There's a lot of veterans out there that are on the streets, and if there were just more people like Belen out there that would just take a moment to talk to them, to take care of them, to do what they can," said Kish.
So Kish nominated Ventura for CBS 5's Pay It Forward program.
He helped us set up the surprise at the hospital by telling Ventura that Zimmerle had an appointment.
"He doesn't have an appointment. We're here today because your story touched me so much, I wrote a letter to CBS 5," Kish said before presenting Ventura with the $500 reward.
Ventura's first husband, Joseph, was a World War II veteran.
Maybe that's why she helped Zimmerle.
Or maybe she saw a chance to reach out a hand and touch a heart.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Monday, December 9 2013 9:30 PM EST2013-12-10 02:30:09 GMT
Over the weekend in Owensboro, officials with the Salvation Army were thrilled to find a gold coin in one of their red kettles. It was found wrapped up in a note that said it was from: 'Someone who lovesMore >
Over the weekend in Owensboro, officials with the Salvation Army were thrilled to find a gold coin in one of their red kettles.More >
Tuesday, December 10 2013 11:42 PM EST2013-12-11 04:42:16 GMT
An upstate wildlife rescue center is at risk of being shut down and sold by court order, as part of the owners' divorce hearings. Big Oaks Rescue Farm in Greenwood has been a sanctuary for abused or neglectedMore >
An upstate wildlife rescue center is at risk of being shut down and sold by court order, as part of the owners' divorce hearings.More >
Tuesday, December 10 2013 11:54 PM EST2013-12-11 04:54:32 GMT
(RNN) - Gil Brandt of NFL.com and ESPN radio host Paul Finebaum are reporting that Alabama's Nick Saban is in contract negotiations with the university for a contract extension that would pay him $7 millionMore >
Reports are swirling that Alabama football coach Nick Saban has a contract extension on his desk from Alabama. Meanwhile, conflicting reports coming from Texas say that coach Mack Brown may be on his way out this week. More >
Tuesday, December 10 2013 3:09 PM EST2013-12-10 20:09:22 GMT
It appears USC isn't the only team with a lead foot these days.Just one day before Jadeveon Clowney was cited for driving 110 MPH on Interstate 77, Clemson's Tajh Boyd was also pulled over for speeding.BoydMore >
It appears USC isn't the only team with a lead foot these days.More >