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State Senator Jerry Hill honored U.S. Army veteran Ken "Pierre" Pierre, who served during the Vietnam War, as the 13th Senate District of California's 2017 Veteran of the Year for Santa Clara County. Senator Hill presented Mr. Pierre of Palo Alto with a Certificate of Recognition for the special honor during a meeting of the Downtown Streets Team at All Saints Episcopal Church on December 14, 2017.
Mr. Pierre is a team manager for Downtown Street Team in Palo Alto, which helps homeless and low-income men and women obtain resources they need to rebuild their lives. Mr. Pierre is a team leader of about half a dozen people who are striving to develop job skills while they work on daily cleanup projects in the community. In addition to his work for DST, Mr. Pierre is a graduate of the Opportunity Center, which provides housing and a variety of services for homeless and extremely low-income families and individuals on the Mid-Peninsula. Mr. Pierre began his work with the Downtown Streets Team as a individual who sought its help.
As a formerly homeless veteran, Mr. Pierre now advocates on behalf of homeless veterans and has spoken in support of more veteran housing projects, such as Willow Housing, a 60-unit apartment complex managed by the Veterans Administration and built for veterans who are homeless or at-risk.