It pains Charles Bauknight to see a military veteran living in a car or under a bridge.
But the retired sergeant first class said for some here, that is a reality.
The opportunity to help is why Bauknight finds managing The Plummer Home rewarding.
Located on 18th Street in Columbus, The Plummer Home opened in 2010 to provide a transitional home for homeless male veterans, but it now also aids men who did not serve in the armed forces.
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"I love this. It is a passion of mine," said Bauknight, who receives no salary for his work. "Getting to do anything that helps another human is a reward."
Billed as a men's enrichment center, The Plummer Home is a faith-based, nonprofit Christian organization.
Its founder, the Rev. Roy George Plummer, also serves as senior pastor of Faith Tabernacle Community Church on Floyd Road in Columbus, but the home is not a church ministry.
The leader of Plummer Enrichment Ministries, Plummer is a retired Army colonel who was chief of chaplains at Fort Benning. After leaving the military, he was JROTC director of Army instruction for the Muscogee County School District.
Asked about the inspiration for the home, Plummer said he met a bagger at a grocery store who was wearing a Vietnam veteran cap and in a conversation with him discovered he had no home and was staying with a friend.
Plummer credits Steve Chittum of Columbus, who had his own ministry, for getting the house to lease and praised Wade Cleaners, which has supported the home since the beginning.
Those living in The Plummer House pay $400 a month for rent and food. The home receives donations, but Plummer said much of the money to keep the home running comes from his wallet.
The large house has four bedrooms with two men in a room. There is a kitchen, dining and computer room.
Plummer also makes use of a house next door where six men can live.
"If I had three more houses, I could fill them," he said. "My goal is to start a house for women. That is my dream. There are a lot of women veterans who are homeless."
According to Plummer, nobody living in the home gets to get up and go back to bed. Everyone must go to work, look for work or be involved with a program to get their lives back in order. The program might be with the Veterans Administration, New Horizons or some other organization.
Men are referred to the home by families, shelters, law enforcement agencies and community agencies.
"Everyone has different circumstances," Bauknight said. "These men are down and out when they come to us. They are glad to have a roof over their head. With some, you see a change in one day. Their head is up, their chest puffed out. They are already feeling better."
He said the men are from different races and faiths. There have been residents as young as 20 and as old as 67.
"It is a wide diversity," Bauknight said. "It is rainbow at its best."
He said the veterans seem to enjoy each other's company.
There are rules. The doors of the house are locked at 11 p.m. Anybody caught using drugs must leave.
Work around the house is shared.
"We are aware of what someone can and can't do," Bauknight said. "We find things they can do well."
The men usually stay three to six months but some have stayed a year.
Ishmiel Muhammad, originally from LaGrange, Ga., currently lives in the home. A former marine, he was shot in Afghanistan and the bullet is still near his spine. Muhammad is involved with a Veterans Administration program in Tuskegee, Ala., and plans to go to college to study criminology. He is on a list to get a home from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
"I feel very relaxed here," Muhammad said. "There are good people. It means a lot to have a place like this available."
Plummer said alcohol has led to misfortune for some residents. In more than 23 years as a chaplain, he counseled many soldiers with an alcohol problem.
The goal is for residents to leave and be able to utilize the skills and resources required to maintain a healthy, self-sufficient lifestyle.
For Plummer, there is no greater reward than to witness a life that has been spiritually impacted and changed.
"We want to get people to take their rightful place in the community, to be back with family," Plummer said. "We are seeing some success."
Those who wish to help can call 706-507-1380.