TAMPA – Roger Barfield said he wished he had a crown to place on Connie Lindsay’s head.
Barfield is a former homeless Vietnam veteran who was given refuge in March 2013 by Lindsay, the founder and executive director of Liberty Manor for Veterans.
Since 2006, as an outreach to honorably discharged veterans like Barfield, penniless and living on the street, she has purchased and operated a series of four transitional shelters for men, helping them regain the dignity and self-esteem she believes they deserve.
“I couldn’t ask for anything better and I’m just graced to be here,” said Barfield, who live at the Myrtle Street residence on the border of Temple Terrace. The others are in Carrollwood, Largo and the Liberty Manor’s headquarters on 9th Street in Tampa.
Lindsay, a Hillsborough County public defender administrator, also has helped Barfield and hundreds of others obtain disability compensation and pensions. Once received, the men are asked to pay a small amount of rent and contribute to the cost of their food.
Her initial hope was that all the dwellers would eventually become self-supporting and find work and permanent housing.
But over time, she’s come to realize some either are too old or suffer from major disabilities, leaving them little chance of finding work. And other more able-bodied men who have landed part-time jobs do not yet have the means to support themselves.
So Lindsay has come up with a plan to open a thrift store to benefit Liberty Manor veterans.