Starving for food, he ended up homeless, under a bridge.
But almost two years later...
"By me being the platoon leader, I take my orders from my commander, which is Judge Robert Miller," he said.
He's now part of Miller's Vets. Navy Veteran and former St. Joe County Judge Robert Miller created the platoon when he saw the number of homeless vets in our area; many staying at the Center for the Homeless. They were lost with no hope.
He wondered if putting them back in uniform would help restore their military pride.
It did. Now they perform color guard duties at funerals and parades. They won first place at the West Side Memorial Day Parade.
"Those people got out of those lawnchairs and they cheered for them and thanked them," Forrest said.
Miller says events like that bring back their self-respect, pride and hope. The judge took it a step further, buying the building right next to the Center to create a home just for homeless vets.
"It just so happened I had that much money," said Miller.
But with his money spent, things came to a standstill. The center raised $150,000 in private donations, but more was needed to transform an old printing building into a safe haven for 45 veterans.
And it came late last month, when the Department of Veterans Affairs gave the center a $305,000 grant to continue the renovation.
There are also many homeless vets who can't afford a funeral or burial. That's where Miller's Vets Garden of Peace comes in. The county donated this land off Portage to give up to 60 vets a home after they die.
Miller says this final resting place is not for 'his' vets. He believes their work at the Center to learn new coping and educational skills will lead to new jobs, new homes and new lives.
"We're talking about the ones that are still out there under the bridges, have no families; maybe in the back room of the Wooden Indian, and the sewers. We had a couple die," said Miller. "They're the ones ending up in morgues with a tag on their toe with no one to even bury them, and that was more than I could stand."
And why the 10-year Naval Officer put himself in their shoes, and is doing something about it. The final touches are underway. The vet's center should be complete by next Veteran's Day. It will be a place for veterans to get their lives back in order, and one day, move out. Something Corporal Danny Forrest has done.
He's on a path to a new job, but will continue to be a part of Miller's Vets. And he can't wait to see the center complete.
"When that day comes, I will be overwhelmed with joy, happiness, love compassion, respect and I'm gonna say 'Halleujah.'"There will be a dedication ceremony for the Garden of Peace this Saturday. Figures show more than a quarter of a million of the Veterans in this Country are homeless. Almost one third of all homeless Americans served in the Armed Forces at one time. Estimates are even higher in South Bend.