Officer goes above and beyond job duties to help out 81-year-old homeless veteran

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Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News Veteran patrol officer Eric Rohrer helped a homeless Korean War veteran get out of the cold last week. Rohrer said he's always looked to help Beloit area residents over his 11 years with the department.

BELOIT - Over the course of his 11 years with the Beloit Police Department, patrol officer Eric Rohrer has always looked to help others.

Last week his commitment to service was on full display after Rohrer, who works the department's second shift, was dispatched to the Beloit Clinic on Huebbe Parkway to help a homeless veteran find shelter as temperatures dropped on Monday night.

After speaking with the 81-year-old named Peter and trying to find temporary housing to no avail, Rohrer took it upon himself to buy the man two night's accommodation at the Rodeway Inn in Beloit.

"It's not something I want recognition for, but it's something that I honestly believe any of my brothers and sisters that I serve with would have done the same thing in that circumstance," Rohrer said.

In talking with staff at the Beloit Clinic and learning the man's background, he found out that Peter had served in the Korean War and had been living out of his car for the last two years.

"He was well-spoken, and at the age of 81 he should not have been living out of his car," Rohrer said. "I don't make all the money in the world, but I am blessed enough to pass my fortunes along to others."

Rohrer said he wanted to help to make sure the man had a place to stay before his meeting later that week with Veterans Affairs in Madison, where he is set to receive subsidized housing through the VA, Rohrer said.

Going forward, Rohrer said he would continue to look for ways to help others.

"I felt so compelled that he should not be living out of his car as a veteran any longer," Rohrer said.

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