Pay It Forward: Phoenix woman helps get veteran off the streets
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
In south Phoenix, underneath the Seventh Street Salt River bridge are the signs of a transient living.
"He was into drugs at the time I met him, really, really bad," said Belen Ventura.
Ventura is talking about Ryan Zimmerle, an Army veteran who fell through the cracks.
"In and out of jail, in and out of jail," she said.
But Ventura saw hope in Zimmerle and helped him get off the streets.
"He sleeps really good here," Ventura said as she pointed to a bed inside her guesthouse.
Ventura also takes Zimmerle to his appointments at the VA hospital.
"I'd probably be dead without her," said Zimmerle.
"What an angel," said Bob Kish, who works at the VA hospital in central Phoenix.
Kish was surprised to hear this story about a stranger who helped a veteran in need.
"There's a lot of veterans out there that are on the streets, and if there were just more people like Belen out there that would just take a moment to talk to them, to take care of them, to do what they can," said Kish.
So Kish nominated Ventura for CBS 5's Pay It Forward program.
He helped us set up the surprise at the hospital by telling Ventura that Zimmerle had an appointment.
"He doesn't have an appointment. We're here today because your story touched me so much, I wrote a letter to CBS 5," Kish said before presenting Ventura with the $500 reward.
Ventura's first husband, Joseph, was a World War II veteran.
Maybe that's why she helped Zimmerle.
Or maybe she saw a chance to reach out a hand and touch a heart.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Sunday, May 19 2013 1:01 AM EDT2013-05-19 05:01:02 GMT
Crash victim Juan Rodriguez with his fiance Amanda Lujan.
You hear a lot about deadly accidents involving motorcycles A Valley couple wants to share their story in hopes drivers will pay more attention to bikers on the road. "The fourth of July, Juan proposed,More >
You hear a lot about deadly accidents involving motorcycles. A Valley couple wants to share their story in hopes drivers will pay more attention to bikers on the road.More >
Sunday, May 19 2013 10:54 AM EDT2013-05-19 14:54:18 GMT
Scottsdale police say a body found in a canal has been identified as a man who was reported missing after he failed to return from a bicycle ride earlier this week. A police officer discovered the bodyMore >
A police officer discovered the body of 78-year-old Edward Allan Brawley on Saturday morning near Hayden Road and Indian Bend.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
Tuesday, May 14 2013 8:25 PM EDT2013-05-15 00:25:14 GMT
Amy's Baking Company was featured on Kitchen Nightmares season finale, and let's just say things didn't go well. For the first time in the show's history it's host, Gordon Ramsay walked away. The showMore >
Scottsdale restaurant owners made a big splash on national television for being impossible to work with, and now it appears they've taken their bad attitudes to the internet. Or have they?More >
Sunday, May 19 2013 10:26 PM EDT2013-05-20 02:26:08 GMT
Fallen first responders
A 23-year-old firefighter is in surgery at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix. Officials told CBS 5 he is in extremely critical condition after being crushed between two fire vehicles. The firefighter wasMore >
Phoenix police officer Daryl Raetz, 29, and Phoenix firefighter Bradley Harper, 23, died within six hours of each other from injuries suffered in two separate incidents.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:06 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:06:03 GMT
The mayor of Phoenix is calling Groceries for Guns the largest buyback program in state history. In fact, Greg Stanton said nearly 2,000 guns are now off the street and unable to fall into the hands ofMore >
The mayor of Phoenix is calling Groceries for Guns the largest buyback program in state history. In fact, Greg Stanton said nearly 2,000 guns are now off the street and unable to fall into the hands of criminals.More >
Wednesday, May 15 2013 2:57 PM EDT2013-05-15 18:57:11 GMT
The old saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Perhaps, this applies to Kitchen Nightmares, as well. An Arizona bakery was featured on Friday's episode of the Gordon RamseyMore >
The old saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Perhaps, this applies to Kitchen Nightmares, as well.More >