ANDERSON — Bitter winds pulled on the frayed ends of an American flag and cut through the flimsy material of the tent Michael Camp has erected behind Marshalls on Scatterfield Road.
It was 27 degrees outside.
“It’s been really rough the last couple of days,” Camp said Monday as he turned his back and drew his jacket tighter around his body.
Camp, 57, is a homeless military veteran originally from Gainesville, Texas.
The tent and coat were both gifts from strangers and have since become prized possessions, Camp said.
They help to keep him warm and dry.
“I’m trying to make it through the winter,” he said. “You just have to make it from one day to the next.”
Camp, who has been in Anderson since June, said he was traveling through the area to reach family in Minnesota when he became stranded due to transportation issues.
In September, he met Candi Clark, who was out of work and also had nowhere to live.
“I was sitting in the park and he rode by on his bicycle,” Clark said. “I asked him for a cigarette and he said it looked like I could use some help. He told me he could only offer me a tent, but it was better than what I had.”
Clark, standing in flimsy knock-off Crocs with large holes in them, said she is not a victim of abuse and has no income making her ineligible for any assistance with the exception of a shelter, but because of regulations she could not stay with Camp in a shelter.
She said her age and the fact that she does not have transportation keep employers from hiring her.
The couple has been camped behind the Marshalls store since September and said each winter day in Indiana is a fight for survival.