Student and veteran races to support homeless veterans

May 27, 2015
Joel Galvan


As a veteran of the Marine Corps and current Marine Corps Reservist, Joel Galvan has a singular interest in helping other veterans, especially those who have experienced hardships in the aftermath of their service. 

In January, Galvan completed the Frozen Otter Trek, a 64-mile ultra-marathon through Wisconsin’s rugged, glacier-imprinted Kettle Moraine State Forest, in several inches of snow, to raise money for Housing 4 Our Vets, a transitional housing program for homeless veterans. His team raised $23,000, almost doubling last year’s donations.

Housing 4 Our Vets is run by Rock Valley Community Programs in Janesville, Wisconsin. The program can provide housing for 48 veterans for up to 24 months each. It also provides support services, including counseling, outreach, disability claims assistance, transportation, and employment and education resources—all with the goal of obtaining permanent housing. The program is partially funded by grants from Veterans Affairs, but relies on donations to cover additional costs. 

“In general, most people don’t realize just how big of a problem homelessness amongst veterans is. The statistics are pretty staggering. About one in three homeless males you see on the street are veterans. We don’t want to leave those guys behind,” said Galvan, a former caseworker for the program. “We’ve had 19 to 20 year olds all the way up to 70 and 80 year olds, across all branches of the military. Housing 4 Our Vets truly is a one-stop shop for a lot of these guys and it can really help get them back into a successful living situation.”

Galvan is working toward his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He is Director of a residential reentry center that aids in transitioning inmates back into the community.

Housing 4 Our Vets
If you know an area veteran in need of housing services or to find out how you can help support Housing 4 Our Vets, visit

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