By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This Holiday season, WCCO has been devoted to helping homeless veterans.

When we first met Army veteran Richard Benjamin, he had reached out to the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) for housing for his family of eight, as he was out of work with no place to call home.

“I want to get back on my feet and give them a stable home, and what they deserve for Christmas,” Richard said at the time.

With the help of MACV and its army of community partners, Richard found work and transitional housing for his family. We watched as Richard’s children got the tour of their new home.

The home was all ready for the holidays, thanks to WCCO viewers who donated ornaments for this community tree. WCCO elves moved the tree from the studio to the Benjamin’s home in St. Paul.

(credit: CBS)

“Just the generosity from the community amazes me, and the family when we just walked in — just awe-struck I really don’t have words for it, “Benjamin said.

The children opened gifts and tested their new bikes. For this Army vet, seeing the smiles on the faces of his children is the best gift in the world.

“They haven’t had something this wonderful in a long time,” Benjamin said.

He says having this home has given his family time to relax and concentrate on the important things.

Army veteran Richard Benjamin (credit: CBS)

“As a dad it means to me that finally we’re getting back on the right track and even though I still receiving a lot of help from the community and everybody else it’s a step in the right direction it gives me hope for the future,” said Benjamin.

Hope he says comes from having the courage to ask for help.

“It’s indescribable. It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” Benjamin said.

We want to thank MACV’s community partners for all their help in making this a special holiday for the Benjamin family.

A special thanks to Central Roofing, Sleep Number, The Minnesota Twins and all of our WCCO viewers who volunteered and sent ornaments to help make this holiday special for so many veterans.

Reg Chapman