Homeless veteran off the streets and on his way to a new life

EUGENE, Ore. - On a frigid New Year's Day, Paul Burton credited the Egan Warming Center with saving his life.

"We high-tailed it over here and heard it was going to be 27 degrees," Burton said at the time.

The warming center provided shelter for Paul and his two dogs, Ricky Rocket and Chuck E. Cheese.

"They are my boys," he said. "They are my life."

Burton landed on the streets after his unemployment ran out in 2011. He had lost his job at Monaco Coach in 2007.

He camped mostly under the Washington-Jefferson Street bridge, where he said Eugene Police cited him for camping. Burton was found guilty May 1 but said the court waived the fines because he kept his spot under the bridge very clean.

Now six months after he sought shelter from the cold, the Air Force veteran is off the streets - and on his way to another chance in 2013.

Burton signed up for help from the Vet LIFT program run by St. Vincent de Paul. The 6-month program helps motivated homeless veterans get off the streets, into job training and out on job interviews.

He moved into an apartment on May 9. Next up: job training and interview coaching as he takes a note from his beloved dogs and tries to reinvent himself as a veterinary assistant.