A Milton man of many uniforms—firefighter, Marine, student—Matt Clifford is on a mission to keep homeless veterans warm this winter. Kicking off a town-wide clothing drive, this former Marine and current lifesaver is calling upon the community to donate winter clothing essentials to those who once served our nation and now confront the cruel New England winter with little to fend off the chill, as reported by WHDH.
Clifford’s campaign is a personal crusade rooted in his own legacy of service; the call of duty runs in his veins, belonging to a lineage of military and firefighting kin. Exterior warmth is what his heart seeks to offer through boots, shoes, and an array of winter gear to the veterans who’ve borne the unforgiving uniform of homelessness. He understands the biting cold they face, within and without, telling the Patriot Ledger, "It could have been any one of us," as mentioned by WHDH.
With the precision of a well-executed drill, Clifford has mapped out key locations across Milton—including the hallowed halls of Quincy College and the frost-covered Ulin Rink—to serve as collection points where citizens can donate more than just items but hope, in the form of men's and women's coats, hats, winter pants, and more.
The depth of Clifford's commitment can also be measured in truckloads—eight or nine last year, to be precise—and he's eyeing topping that number this year. The distribution is slated for Dec. 3, according to the Patriot Ledger; his strategy has adapted to the needs, including boots and shoes after a somber sight of a veteran in mere flip-flops—and his ammunition comes from cash donations funneled through Marine buddies who want to make a difference from afar.
Clifford's initiative also opens up a channel for financial aid via Venmo to purchase high-priority items like socks, which are key in thwarting the relentless assault of the cold on vulnerable feet. The man who once wielded the fire hose now takes up the Zamboni at Ulin Rink, and as he tidies the ice, his thoughts linger on the icy plight of those without shelter.
While he plans to transition from fire trucks to nursing scrubs, he is hoping to study at Quincy College, as per Patriot Ledger. The immediate goal is straightforward—channel warmth to those who’ve fallen through the cracks. Those at the receiving end of Clifford’s crusade resonate gratitude in their eyes, some enveloping him in their arms, a boundless thanks for the recognition of their sacrifice and the comforts now offered in their time of need.