Veteran Resource Connection Corner
Success Stories and Updates from SSV's Veteran Resource Connection Program
The Gift of Mobility:
How an Anonymous Veteran's Generous Donation Changes Ollie's Life
And How Your Support Made it all Possible
Last month, Veteran Ollie received the gift he’d been praying for: mobility. It came in the form of an electric powered wheelchair.
The wheelchair was donated by a Veteran who wishes to remain anonymous. It previously belonged to his late father-in-law, who was also a Veteran.
The anonymous donor called SSV’s Veteran Resource Connector (VRC) specialist to donate the powered wheelchair to a Veteran in need.
The wheelchair had been stored out of sight in the donor's garage. It was barely used and in excellent condition.
SSV’s VRC specialist spoke with coworkers and checked client databases searching for any SSV clients who might need a wheelchair.
She found a perfect match: Veteran Ollie, an SSV Veteran’s Affairs (VA) client. Ollie worked with Trudy, an SSV VA Advocacy counselor, to file VA benefit services. He was the ideal candidate to receive the generously donated powered wheelchair.
Harry Collins, Chapter Service Officer (CSO) for the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), generously donated his time, assistance and vehicle to help pick up and deliver the powered wheelchair. He even joined SSV in the heartwarming moment when we were able to present Ollie with the gift for which he had such a desperate need.
Meeting Ollie’s need was a team effort. It took the thoughtfulness and generosity of the anonymous donor, collaboration between SSV employees, and a generous volunteer’s time (and truck!) to get Ollie the wheelchair he deserved and was so grateful to receive.
Without our generous donors, SSV would not exist. Your support is what makes remarkable stories like Ollie’s possible.
SSV Helps 40-Year Veteran Keep the Lights On
Kenneth came to Still Serving Veterans (SSV) seeking an advocate to help him contest a previously denied VA claim and with an urgent request for assistance with his utility bill.
An SSV VA claims advocacy counselor was able to help guide him through the process. Some of the best phone calls we receive are the ones like Kenneth’s – he was so excited to report that his appeal was granted and his claim awarded.
While SSV does not have a monetary reserve for Veterans’ financial needs, our Veteran Resource Connection (VRC) program thoroughly vets local organizations offering assistance of this nature. Our North Alabama VRC counselor reached out to the Huntsville Assistance Program and Clearing House and local Disabled American Veterans Chapter 26.
MISSION: The Huntsville Assistance Program is a group of Christian congregations who desire to provide a ministry of assistance and referrals to needy individuals and families of Madison County, Alabama. This ministry focuses on the non-homeless and strives to achieve its mission by the pooling of volunteers, information and financial resources of its members. The Huntsville Assistance Program also makes every effort to cooperate with the different organizations, agencies, ministries and other faith groups who have a similar desire to support the needy and the mission of the Huntsville Assistance Program.
MISSION: We are dedicated to a single purpose: empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. We accomplish this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America's injured heroes on Capitol Hill; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life.
Filled with the kind of empowerment that only the encouragement of a support system can provide, Kenneth initiated contact with The Whitehouse Committee for further assistance. They were able to provide him a needed power chair and ramp through the VA.
Meet Brandi. Licensed massage therapist, mother of three, and spouse of a disabled Army Veteran. After serving 12 years in the U.S. Army, her husband languished without a job or hope. Additionally, the area in which the family lived was lacking in a vital resource - VA accessibility and care. Brandi's income became paramount as her current earnings were insufficient to support a family of five.
Brandi began looking for a better-paying career opportunity with a future - determined to create a better life for her family. She landed a new job, but it was in Huntsville…4 hours away from her family. After learning of the Still Serving Veterans resource connection service for Veterans and their families, she reached out to SSV’s East Alabama (EAL) office for help with relocation as she had no place to live and nowhere to stay.
SSV’s process of care in Brandi’s case illustrates the epitome of a true team effort. Though SSV has three locations throughout Alabama, it operates as a single entity dedicated to serving Veterans. Upon learning of Brandi’s plight, SSV EAL immediately reached out to collaborate with SSV North Alabama (NAL) to support Brandi’s immediate relocation.
With the first day of her new job quickly approaching, the day arrived for Brandi to take a leap of faith. Without knowing where she would sleep that night, she headed to Huntsville for a new job in a new city in hopes of a new life for her family.
“I got here with only myself, a small amount of money, a massage table and a few belongings in my Ford Focus," Brandi remembers. "I [had to leave] my three children and husband behind.”
Though necessary, leaving a family behind is a heartbreak that no mother should have to know. To help lessen her burden, SSV EAL provided resources and support for her husband and children. Meanwhile, SSV NAL awaited her arrival, ready to help and support this inspiringly brave client.
“Patience Steward was my Veteran Resource Connections Counselor," Brandi beams. "She greeted me with open arms and an amazing smile. I didn't feel like a burden or ashamed at all. Patience was a friend and cheerleader during this time.”
The air turned crisp with holiday cheer, but Brandi was far from home on Thanksgiving. Though her family could not gather around the same table, SSV made sure that both Brandi and her family were made welcome in local homes of generous families to partake of the holiday and enjoy a moment of respite.
While Brandi worked on securing a new residence, SSV secured temporary accommodations to keep her from having to sleep in her car or shiver at a shelter. After six long weeks, she was finally accepted at an apartment…though her sigh of relief was short-lived. She had no furniture or basic necessities and was having to do laundry in her bathtub because the local laundromat had closed down. An individual connected to SSV became aware of Brandi’s need for a washing machine and generously donated their family’s spare washer/dryer set. Patience sought out additional resources through Veterans of North Alabama Services Assistance Program, Inc. (VON-ASAP), a long-standing community partner. Thanks to the incredible work and generous spirit of the VON-ASAP team, the apartment was able to be fully furnished with all the basic needs.
After the school semester came to a close, Brandi was able to return home to see her family. But this time she didn’t have to say goodbye when it came time to return to work in Huntsville. Her husband and three children were in tow as they traveled to the new life Brandi had bravely forged. “Without Still Serving Veterans," Brandi recalls. " I don’t think I could have survived this move.”
“[Patience] is amazing,” Brandi boasts. “Not just because of everything she helped me get, but how she really cared about me and my family. On May 20, it's been six months since I got here. I have an awesome job, the kids just finished this school year and my husband also got a job in Huntsville (and [is] getting help from the VA).”
Their apartment is now a home full of family, furniture, washer/dryer units and hope. They even have a new addition to the family…a betta fish named Goldie!
Veteran Spouse Gets a Roof Over Her Head
HUNTSVILLE, Ala., 3 May 2018 -- A Veteran spouse had been living with a hole in her roof since August 2017, enduring storms and an unseasonably frigid North Alabama winter. Mercies Ministries, a local charitable organization, volunteered their time and resources to repair the roof's exterior. SSV Veteran Resource Connector Patience Steward served as an advocate to the military spouse, seeking additional support from The Home Depot Foundation's (THDF) Veteran Housing Program. The request was granted, the roof's exterior repaired and THDF will now intervene to complete the roof's interior. SSV is honored to serve Veterans and their families by connecting them with life-saving resources.