Vietnam Veteran Franklin Davis is out on the Washington, D.C. streets every morning at 8 a.m. Suffering from cancer and diabetes, Davis might enjoy the occasional chance to sleep in, but that’s when the homeless shelter he stays at clears everyone out.
According to Cal Vet, Davis doesn’t go looking for attention. As a veteran, he understands the value of traits like humility and respect, which is probably why he was recently seen cleaning up the Veterans Memorial Park.
While the federal government is shutdown, no one has been tending to the park or the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall that bears the names of Davis’ fallen comrades.
Photographer Stephen Voss was visiting the memorial park when he spotted Davis on a recent snowy morning. He took a photo of Davis as he cleaned up clutter from around the wall.
“He told me he knew some of the people whose names are on the wall who lost their lives in Vietnam, and I thought it was a really remarkable thing that he chose to do this,” Voss said. “Someone who has very little has chosen to do something that the U.S. government currently can’t do, which is maintain these memorials and keep them in good shape.”
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There are several campaigns in progress to raise money for Davis. The veteran has yet to respond to any of them. He’s just doing what he feels is right.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.