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Former Ravens Giveback To Veterans Via 'Vets For Vets' Program

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The Baltimore Station provides a home, counseling and training for veterans and others transitioning through the cycle of poverty, substance abuse and homelessness.

Many of its residents are veterans. And now the NFL's Alumni Association is working with the station in a program called 'Vets for Vets'.

Ravens caps can be found in the meeting room of The Baltimore Station Wednesday and not just because it's south Baltimore location is in the shadow of the stadium.

Some of these men were at Sunday's game against Tampa Bay.

"That was wonderful man. I haven't been to a Ravens game since the late 70s like when Bo James was playing quarterback," said Kenny Deardoff.

On Sunday, it was Lamar and the men were there as guests of former Ravens players, veterans of the NFL -- Vets For Vets.

"For many of the fans, it's a game. For veterans for the military. it's for real," said former ravens punter Kyle Richardson.

"For many of the men they've seen the building ,but they've never been inside. They've never gotten to go to a game," said John Friedel, executive director of Baltimore Station.

And they didn't just go on a cold, rainy Sunday, they went in style.

"It was quite an experience. We had box seats and man it was really great," Deardoff said.

First class treatment for men who too often feel less than.

For 29 years, The Baltimore Station has provided support for veterans -- men who've left one world and haven't yet found their place in a new one. and being escorted by former athletes to a pro game...goes a long way.

"It's huge. It's transformative. It really shows our men that there's the possibility of life beyond these four walls and certain something different from what they've seen," Friedel said.

'Vets for Vets' is a program involving former NFL players.

In October, they got to play softball side by side with some current players for the Baltimore Blast.

The men went to two Ravens home games this season and one Orioles game.

For Richardson, one encounter Sunday brought it all home when he asked a man, "are you having a good time?"

"He actually said, you know what it may not look like I'm having a good time but this is the best day I've had in years. that was enough. I was like, alright that's what it's about," he said.

The men living at The Baltimore Station will also get the opportunity to attend Baltimore Orioles games beginning in April of next year.

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