ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - It's been a tough few years for Brewster Bowen. The U.S. Marine Corps veteran lost his job, his wife and his home--which left him living on the streets of metro Atlanta for three years.
"I was homeless and living out of my car, but the V.A. got me into a program so that I could get this apartment," Bowen told FOX 5's Portia Bruner Tuesday.
The apartment on Favor Road gave Bowen the sense of stability he needed and things were looking up--until the morning of June 10.
"I come outside and my car is gone and I'm like what happened?" said Bowen.
Bowen's black Honda was stolen from the parking lot. The good news is the Cobb County police determined it was recovered the same day in good shape in Atlanta. The bad news is it was going to cost $175 to get it out of the impound. Storage and other daily fees quickly raised that amount to more than $600 by the time Bruner interviewed the veteran.
"I'm saying oh, god! I live on a fixed income and by the time I pay the bills, pay the car insurance, buy gas and groceries, I'm tapped out. I was thinking about just giving up because I just don't have that kind of money to spare," Bowen said standing near the spot where his car was stolen.
The V.A. referred him to Operation Rally Point, a non-profit that advocates on behalf of veterans in need. CEO Brandon Watts reached out to the impound to help.
"Once I informed them that this involved a formerly homeless veteran who is barely getting by paycheck-to-paycheck, they agreed to waive some of the storage fees and get the fee down from $650 down to $250, so that's great. We will do what we can to pull together the rest," said Watts, an Army veteran who served two tours in Iraq.
Bowen said he is grateful for Cobb County police, Atlanta police, and the vets who intervened.
"This is the first time I have been treated like this since I got out of the Marine Corps. It makes me feel excellent. I'm just overjoyed right now," Bowen said.
After Bruner's initial story aired on FOX 5 News at 5 and 6, several viewers called with offers to help pay off the balance of Bowen's impound fees.