‘I’ve never had anything like this': Homeless vet gifted home thanks to deputy’s efforts

A homeless veteran now has a new home thanks to community efforts led by Seminole County deputy.

Deputy Carl Tipton said he spotted military veteran Richard Pajula on the streets of downtown Sanford with his walker and red suitcase three weeks ago.

“Looked like he was lost like he needed somewhere to go,” said Deputy Tipton. "My heart went out to him."

After helping him get off the streets by raising money to help pay his rent, the community raised enough to buy him a 34-foot travel trailer. It was presented to him at a ceremony Friday.

“I’ve never had anything like this. It's very wonderful,” said Pajula.

The veteran has also been gifted a guitar.

“I’m going to play you the first song I wrote,” he said.

Deputy Tipton said watching Richard’s story go from a Facebook post to a home placement has given him hope more can be done.

“We’ll see, this is just the start. Hopefully, it’s the start of something big,” he said.

Something big, like a ministry. One inspired by the red suitcase. 

“That’s kind of what we’re going to call it the red suitcase foundation...our ministry,” he said.