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Homeless veteran gets back on his feet with the help of a police officer

Homeless veteran gets back on his feet with the help of a police officer
Homeless veteran gets back on his feet with the help of a police officer 02:02

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM)  A veteran who was once homeless is getting back on his feet with help from a Fort Worth police officer.

This past winter, Officer Joe Spragins saw Toney Dervan at various spots in west Fort Worth responding to business complaints when Dervan was with his service dog. 

"Sleeping on the side of a Little Caesars building, that was my first time encountering him," said Spragins. 

But as the months went on, Spragins built a relationship with Dervan.

"He was always super nice and cooperative," said Spragins, "I would start asking him more questions and more questions and he would never offer up anything about his past or anything."

Eventually Spragins found out Dervan was a war veteran serving right after 9-11 who fell on hard times. 

"I did three tours to Iraq, one to Afghanistan. Went in as a fuel supply specialist," said Dervan. 

Officer Spragins knew Toney wanted help to get to a better place, "So when someone like Toney comes along, I'm going to do everything in my power to make it happen."

Spragins got Dervan an RV with the help of the group Operation Texas Strong and a spot at an RV park in Decatur to help jumpstart the next part of Toney's journey.

"I just told him, 'Yep, schedule it I'll raise the money, I'll get it going,'" added Spragins.

Now Dervan has a place he can call home – his 1982 Winnebego. 

"It's been a lifesaver, just him going back and forth and coordinating – he's gone way out of his way," said Dervan, "I'm very grateful, I can't put it into words how grateful I really am."

As Toney gets the support he needs right now, he plans to pass it on to other struggling veterans who are out there. He said he wants to create an RV park for veterans with trailers who don't have a place that will take them.

Officer Spragins said people are donating small items, clothes, and even money to help Dervan out as he builds his new life.

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