Presented by Snapped
It was Thursday night on 4th Avenue, about a block east of Stewart’s Photo Shop.
Kyle Murphy was walking around downtown Anchorage, experimenting in black and white with his new camera, when a man walked along. He wore a dirty jacket under his faded overcoat, and the baseball cap pushed down over his curly hair read “Stand Down 20th Anniversary Alaska.”
“Nice camera,” the man said.
Murphy told him he was just experimenting with it because it was new, and asked him he could snap a picture or three of him. The man said sure – told Murphy he was homeless and a Vietnam veteran – and then told him about his hat.
Murphy researched the event when he got home: Hosted by the Alaska VA Healthcare System, the annual Anchorage Stand Down provides information and resources, social and medical services, clothing, meals and more for homeless veterans and veterans in need. It’s a “hand up,” the website reads.
Murphy can’t recall the old veteran’s name; he thinks it might be Gary but can’t say for sure. He doesn’t remember which village he hailed from either, but the guy’s lived in Anchorage for a while now. And Thursday night, he smiled for Murphy’s new camera and shared a part of his story with a stranger.