Perry Police Sgt. Matt Aswegan made his final patrol of the Perry streets Monday night and early Tuesday morning and during a 2 a.m. coffee stop at a local gas station, he ran across Lloyd Santee. The two men caught up on how things have been going and recalled their first encounter a few years ago.
Their first encounter was in October 2015, when Santee was down on his luck and living out of his car. Aswegan happened upon him one night on patrol, finding him sleeping in his car at a local city park.
Aswegan soon discovered that Santee served more than 12 years in the U.S. Army Field Artillery during the latter part of the Cold War in the late 1980s and through Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Aswegan is himself an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Army and comes from a long line of military service in his family.
The men discussed the services of the Veterans Administration that night, but Santee was too proud to ask for help and did not want to pursue those options, so Sgt Aswegan called the office of the Dallas County Veterans Affairs for him and reported Santee’s situation to them.
Within a very short time, the VA got in touch with him, provided him housing and got him enrolled into the VA Hospital. Santee soon landed a full-time job and began to receive the benefits he deserved and was entitled to as a disabled U.S. military veteran.
Santee continues to do well today despite a few minor bumps in the road, and his story does great credit to the Dallas County Veterans Affairs office and his own perseverence.
“If you see Santee around Perry, thank him for his service,” Aswegan said.
If you see Sgt. Aswegan around town, thank him for his service, too. Tuesday was his last shift as a patrol supervisor for the Perry Police Department, and many Facebook well wishers thanked him for his service to Santee and to Perry and cheered him on to his next position with the Polk City Police Department.
“Awesome,” said Sandy Aswegan Wagenknecht. “Thank you both! That’s my nephew and one of the best! Also thank you for your service each day.”
“This is a fantastic story,” said Kathy Annear Walsh. “Not just one vet helping another or a police officer helping a citizen. It is the epitome of human kindness. Thanks for sharing this, and thanks to both men for your service. We live in the land of the free because of the brave!”
If you know a veteran who might be in difficult circumstances, contact 1-877-4AIDVET or the Dallas County Veterans Affairs office at 515-993-5809.