Hillsborough Co. deputy saves homeless Vietnam veteran's life

Posted at 6:04 PM, Oct 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-26 18:04:06-04

A homeless Vietnam veteran says a Hillsborough County deputy saved his life.

"Saved my life. Not much you can say other than that," 72-year-old Mike Jones said.

Jones was living out of his car at a park along the Alafia River when he was told he could not sleep there. Deputy Mark Liitschwager, a homeless outreach deputy and Army Veteran himself, was contacted. It was Friday, October, 13. Jones had been living in his VW Golf for about 4 months.

"He could barely talk and breath when I found him," Deputy Liitschwager said.

Jones' legs were extremely swollen. He had clots that had traveled to his lungs. Deputy Liitschwager called the fire department and had the veteran sent to James A. Haley VA Hospital where he spent close to two weeks.

Jones, who lives on a fixed income, says he was priced out of his apartment in Arizona. He drove to Florida to get away from the desert heat.

He is much better now. He is still trying to get his strength back, but walks well with a cane he made himself. He's currently living at a motel while he waits for a veteran's housing program to find him permanent, affordable living arrangements. Stepp's towing has been helping pay for his stay. The company also towed and stored his car while he was in the hospital.