This week’s case of the week comes from our Sarasota, FL office written by our regional manager, Bob Graham.
Recently we were approached by a VA Caseworker to help out a veteran who had fallen on hard times and needed assistance. The veteran has very limited income that only comes from picking up odd jobs around his neighborhood. He, unfortunately, suffers from severe anxiety and consequently can’t hold down a steady job. 
This has led him to fall behind on his utility bill. Thankfully, he was referred to us to help him out. We can happily say that we were able to bring his utility bill up to date and give him some relief to his stressors. We were and are very happy to help out.
Today’s Case of the Week comes from our Hartselle, Alabama Office.
Recently, we had a veteran stop in that had fallen on hard times. Unfortunately, he had fallen behind on his electric bill to the tune of $350.00 and did not know where to turn for help. He had gone to a Huntsville Veteran’s Organization and they sent him to us. 
His wife was with him using a borrowed phone and she was endlessly calling various organizations with no luck. They have two daughters (16 and 11) and no power. We have been having lows in the mid to high twenties and we know that it was a monumental struggle for them. 
He stated that he had talked to a lot of different organizations and we were the only ones to help thus far. We called the utility company and sent them our max donation and helped them find other organizations in their area that could help. 
Our office manager Carol was calling other Veterans organizations in Huntsville and they told her that they sent people to us, Veterans Outreach. With all their problems they still were kind and upbeat. We are so happy we could help!
Today’s Case of the Week comes from our Sarasota, FL office written by our Florida Regional Manager, Bob Graham.
Recently, we were approached by the local low-income housing agency to help out a veteran in desperate need. The veteran has COPD and emphysema. His wife has health issues as well. 
They are also taking care of their 3 grandchildren – ages 6, 8 and 10(autistic) that were taken away from their parents by the court as unfit to raise them.
They are in a drafty old house and the power bills got behind his capacity to fund with everything else going on – several local agencies have banded together to rescue them from their utility bills and we were asked to join the group – which we are! We are very happy to be able to pitch in and help this veteran and his family.
Today’s “Case of the Week” comes from our corporate headquarters in Liberty twp., Youngstown Ohio as told by Teri Ely, our Executive Director.
I was recently contacted by a VA Caseworker about a veteran that she had been working with for quite a while. This veteran served in Germany and Italy with the Security Police. He is now suffering from PTS, anxiety, and depression. On top of that, he had a stroke. He was in a nursing home for rehab from the stroke. The Caseworker and other agencies were able to help him get moved into an assisted living facility. Her concern is that now her work with him is completed. 
He stays at his apartment most of the time due to his disabilities, he has no family, no friends. He is totally alone. She called me to ask if we knew of other veterans that would send him a card once in a while. I told some of our Veterans’ Outreach team about this veteran and they immediately said they would be contacting him, visiting him, and even spreading it to other veterans to join in. I was so touched by the quickness of their response, they didn’t even think about it. It was automatic to help a brother veteran because they never leave a brother behind.
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.