This case of the week comes from our Sarasota, FL office.

A Cocoa FL-based veteran was recently referred to us by his VA caseworker. This veteran is 100% disabled from an IED he encountered in Iraq. He was in the Army for over 17 years and survived 15 combat caused injuries in his multiple deployments. Unfortunately, he has fallen on difficult times and asked for help on his utility bill. We have guaranteed the overdue portion and his power will stay on – he said “God Bless You” three times! So glad we could help!

This case of the week comes from our Sarasota, FL office.
We were contacted last week by a veteran with a number of bills he had fallen behind on. He had had a heart attack, hospitalized and in a coma. 
When he came out, the staff told him that his son, who had tried to help his father, had collapsed and died of a heart attack shortly after his father’s hospitalization. Then they had to tell him that his daughter found her mother, his wife, dead on the floor of their bedroom. 
He had tried to commit suicide but his remaining family talked him out of it, and he is trying to resurrect a new life by making arrangements on his bills – on which he had fallen behind, naturally enough. We were able to step in and help him out with some resolutions.
This case of the week comes from our Hartselle, AL office.
Last week when at a local store one of our representatives was approached by a nice lady who decided to donate to Veterans’ Outreach. Upon putting her donation in the donation canister she accidentally got her finger stuck in the jar!
 
Our representative pushed down on the lid, but to no avail, her finger was hopelessly stuck. Her very big, strong boyfriend came to the rescue and pressed with two hands on top of the jar and got her finger free. Unfortunately, this process cracked the lid, but fortunately having her finger free she was able to give our rep a $5.00 Walmart gift card. 
We are certainly glad that there are no hard feelings on her part and very happy that her finger was none the worse for wear.
This case of the week comes from our Sarasota, FL office.
It was probably in February or March, I received a phone call from a guy ranting and raving that no one cares about Veterans and no one will help me and I am just going to take my life. I tried to give him the phone number for the VA Suicide Hotline and he ranted that no one would help him there. I did tell him that I would listen to him and would try to help. He proceeded to tell me that I didn’t care either and before I could say “I did care he hung up on me”. I had his phone number and called him back. It went to voicemail so I gave him my name and phone number at Veterans’ Outreach and told him to call me before he took his life. I was so upset for the rest of the day. I even tried to call him that evening on my cell phone and told him I would really like to talk to him.
The next day, Ted called not ranting anymore. The first thing I told him I was so glad that he called me back and that I cared about him. He apologized for the ranting but he was still considering taking his life. I asked Ted why do you want to take your life, what is so bad that you don’t want to continue to live. I again told him that I cared and I had all day to listen to him that my work would wait.
Ted went on to say that he needed help with a rent application of $50.00. I told him we could probably help him with that. (In which, we didn’t end up helping him as he received the money from someone else).
I said, “Not having money to pay your rent is why you’re going to take your life?”
 He started to choke up and said No, you don’t understand. I said “Tell me what’s going on and I will try to help or find help for you” He proceeded to tell me that he was in the Marines and getting ready to go to Germany and they would be going between Germany and Kabul for maneuvers. He was in a motorcycle accident here in the states 2 weeks before he was to leave for Germany. He didn’t get hurt other than some scrapes and bruises, but the Marines thought he had might have a concussion and decided he couldn’t go to Germany and sent his friend instead. His friend was married and had 2 young children. His other friend Matt was going as well. On one of the maneuvers, they did to Kabul his friend with the 2 children was killed and Matt lost his arm during the attack. I then asked him if he had contacted Matt since he was hurt and was sent back to the states? He said “No I feel so guilty, I can’t talk to him”
I proceeded to tell him about my brother-in-law being killed in Vietnam and how hard it was for us as it was as though we never had any closure. I told him one day I was on the Vietnam Wall web page and I saw someone had commented that he was with Tom the day he was killed in Vietnam. This was 40 years later. He left his name and what town he was from. I immediately googled him and found his name along with a phone number. That night my husband called the phone number and told him that he was Tom’s brother and would he talk to him? They ended up talking for quite a while. Over a couple of months, they made arrangements for Carl to come to Indiana and meet Tom’s family. What a blessed day to hear the stories that he told about Tom while he was in Vietnam. I then asked Ted again why don’t you try to find Matt and maybe get some closure for yourself. In the meantime, he gave me Matt’s name and some info about him. A few hours later Ted, called me back. Thanking me over and over how, I had saved his life, by taking the time to listen and talk to him and encouraging him to find Matt. He had found Matt and they had talked for over an hour about everything. Since then I have stayed in touch with Ted. He did call earlier this month and wish me a “Merry Christmas and told me he wouldn’t be celebrating Christmas if I had didn’t take the time to talk to him”. It was all I could do not to cry.
We did help Ted with his electric bill this month. He felt bad for asking, but his rent amount he pays the Veterans housing had been incorrect and they took out extra money. He is now working full time at Aldi’s grocery store and hoping to move to the Sarasota area as his younger daughter lives here. I am going to try and see if I can make arrangements to meet him after the New Year.
This week we want to share a “Case of the Week” from our corporate office in Liberty twp., Youngstown Ohio as told by our Executive Director, Teri Ely. 
 
On any given Wednesday in the Liberty office, dozens of veterans line up for assistance, sometimes out the door and across the parking lot.
 
A week ago, it was warm and the waiting room door was left wide open. One of the veterans had the music cranked up in his car, but not the type of music that we share in an office setting.
 
I politely asked him to turn the music down. He replied with a lot of high energy, “I gots to have the music! The music is for the brothers! It’s the only thing that keeps me sane, so I don’t explode – you blue-eyed blond B____H”. 
 
He said he was here to see Mr. Bob, not me. I said ok and told Mr. Bob, aka Bob Julian that we had a problem. Bob saw that he had a flask in his hand. He put his arm around the veteran’s shoulders and walked him out the door. The remaining veterans were very sympathetic and apologetic. I continued with my day, but have to admit that his verbal attack was disheartening.
 
Just one week later, it wasn’t quite as crowded. Every veteran had a chair. There happened to be a Pastor in the crowd that had never been to our office before. He looked around the room and studied all of the faces, seeing some more troubled than others. One of them was the same veteran that had been escorted out the previous week. He had his head down and was very quiet. The Pastor announced that he was going to lead everyone in prayer for their concerns. 
 
He said a long beautiful prayer! Not a sound could be heard except the Pastor’s deep and soulful voice. Our office gals work came to a stop and they were motionless as they listened to God’s healing words. When the stranger Pastor finished the prayer, another veteran began to sing the “Our Father”. Almost immediately, other vets joined in until there were 6 or more harmonizing. The “disciplined” veteran was humming along, and later told Mr. Bob how sorry he was, that he had been chastised by veterans everywhere he went because of his behavior. 
It was a long version of the LORDS Prayer and was like HEAVEN opened up! We watched and listened, no dry eyes to be found. We thanked them and knew that this was no coincidence. 
 
What a transition from the week earlier. Those veterans were here seeking help with basic needs. The stranger Pastor was indeed a messenger of our Lord and he found some ANGELS in that waiting room with him singing from the deepest parts of their hearts! 
 
No matter what the problems may be, there is always something to sing about.
 
Merry Christmas.
This case of the week comes from our Sarasota, FL office.
A Sarasota- based wife of a veteran we had assisted many years ago, approached us to help on overdue rent. Her husband is unfortunately bedridden with Lou Gehrig’s disease due to radiation exposure from his time training overseas. The VA agrees and believes the radiation exposure is how he came down with this horrible illness. Due to this, he is 100% disabled.
He requires full-time help so his wife cannot work nor, of course, can he. They owe a substantial portion of last month’s rent and we were able to assist out of our Emergency Fund to keep the roof over their heads. Both feel a great deal better as they head into this Christmas season!
Today’s Case of the Week comes from our Sarasota, FL office!
Recently the Sarasota office was contacted by a veteran in desperate need. He is 100% disabled due to a broken neck. The 1st vertebrae is fractured and the location of it makes it much too dangerous to treat. Due to this, he cannot work.
He is currently in the process of applying for more social security benefits to help him live a better life, but that takes a lot of time. Unfortunately, he has been unable to pay his power bill.
 
We are so glad he contacted us. We are guaranteeing to keep his power on and he could not be more grateful. We are so happy to help!

A veteran contacted us through our website.  He has had a hard road and asked for some help to straighten his path to independent living.  Many years ago, undiagnosed issues led him to activity that led him to jail.  After serving his time, medical and psychological treatment for severe PTSD, he got assistance from Veterans’ Outreach with a deposit for a new apartment.  He kept that apartment for over 3 years.

Recently, his son moved out, and his voucher amount was changed.  He lost his apartment and has been homeless.  He contacted us again and was turned down due to a snag in our system. However, he persisted in a calm and respectful way.  After further investigation, we were able to help him with the deposit for a new apartment.  He expressed his gratitude with these words, “thank you and the entire staff for believing in the veteran, it meant so much to me that you gave me a second chance.  I promise to give it my all.”

He has taken a “really messed up” life and changed it to a life with hope because he took the initiative to accept responsibility for his life.

Today’s Case of the Week comes from our Grayson, KY office.
We had a Vietnam Veteran walk into the office and told us he had bought his own piece of land and built a tiny home on it. He went all last winter with no heat except for a small space heater. He was scared and concerned that this winter he could freeze to death. He asked us for any help we could give.
We pulled some of our veteran resources and we were able to put him in touch with a fellow electrician. It just so happens that this electrician gave one of our outreach representatives his card just a couple weeks ago. The electrician said he was happy to go help this Vietnam Veteran and do all the work for free! He even hung his drywall for him.
With the electric being up to code, he will be able to get propane installed. We also gave him a box of food and invited him back each month to get another box from our pantry to help get him through this tough winter. He was so happy he was in tears. We are so glad that this Hero won’t have to worry this winter about heat or food.