Active Duty Marine Receives Transition Support
Natalie is an active duty Marine Sergeant and a single mom with 3 kids living in base housing. She sought transition support from the Military & Veterans Services as she felt completely unprepared for her transition to the civilian workforce and community. Our team supported her with finding civilian housing, pro bono legal support to handle some legal challenges she was experiencing, and emotional support. For employment, Natalie received networking, communication, resume and interview skill training and support. Although Natalie is not employed yet as she completes for final military requirements, she has gained confidence and skills to make a smoother transition. She’s a work in progress, but a success story so far in the small victories achieved to date.
Grateful Spouse of a Marine Veteran
Tanika is the spouse of a military veteran. She has been with her Marine veteran since they dated in high school, supported him through Marine Corps boot camp, one combat deployment in Iraq, and throughout a long healing process after he was wounded in action in 2004. Since her Marine veteran’s injury, Tanika supported the family financially while her veteran stayed at home with their two daughters. When Tanika’s husband started receiving employment support from Easter Seals, she expressed her gratitude for “putting him out there.” Tanika supported her veteran and the Military & Veterans Services team to prepare him for interviews, resume tailoring, and developing his communication skills. Since her veteran started meaningful employment in March 2014, almost 10 years from his injury, Tanika has enjoyed spending more time with their daughters. For the support she received through Easter Seals Southern California’s Military &Veterans Services, Tanika said, “I really have no words to express how grateful I am…Thank you.”
Army Veteran Receives Needed Support
Ms. S came to Easter Seals New York at the end of April as a homeless Army veteran living in a shelter with her 15 month old son. She didn't have any clothing except for what she was wearing and was in dire need of services. ESNY Case manager referred Ms. S for housing, legal counseling, mental health counseling, and clothing. After working with ESNY job developer, going on a shopping trip for clothes and shoes, Ms. S was able to secure employment with Universal Solutions as a customer service representative. She works part time for 26 hours per week and earns $9 per hour.
Homeless Veteran Rises Above Challenges
Ms. J enrolled in Easter Seals New York HFVVWF in April. She was a homeless veteran living in a Domestic Violence shelter with her two children ages 5 and 6. She was referred for housing assistance and clothing. After working with the job developer she was called for an interview at a Dermatology office. Ms. Jones didn't have the money to buy a Metrocard to get to the job interview or to ESNY office so she was given transportation assistance through supportive services. Since her exact location is confidential (DV Shelter), Case Manager met her at a McDonalds in the vicinity of her shelter and delivered a metro card. Ms. J interviewed and was hired by the Dermatology clinic as a full time medical assistant as a result of Easter Seals assistance.
Back on the Road to Self-Sufficiency
On July 23, 2014 Jose Gomez, veteran of the United States Marine Corps started his first day of employment as a Rehab Demolition Worker for a private medical firm. He will be compensated $20 per hour plus on site housing. Mr. Gomez had only been in our Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) for one month and is thankful for the assistance that was provided to lift his spirits and prepare him in getting back on the road to self-sufficiency.
Getting a Vet Back on Her Feet
A female U.S. Army veteran found herself unemployed with outdated work skills and a 50 percent service-connected disability. While she was receiving some disability payments, she had no other income and needed financial assistance with rent, utilities and food. She also needed a plan to establish stability for herself and her son, who suffered from severe anxiety disorder.
A national veteran service organization referred her to an existing community-based support, which stepped in with an immediate plan of action. The staff first assisted her in filing a medical necessity form to have her electricity restored. The local Easter Seals affiliate then worked with the State Home Energy Assistance Program, the Salvation Army, and St. Vincent DePaul to get her access to food stamps through County Department of Job and Family Services. Given Easter Seals’ expertise in children and disability services, they were able to connect her to a lawyer so she could file for disability benefits for her son. Finally, she was contacted with the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation department to coordinate benefits and educational assistance in preparing for a job search.
This veteran is now getting back on her feet and moving forward on a clear path towards independence.
The Kindness of Strangers
Sometimes all it takes is a kind, caring person who steps in to lend some expertise. A local U.S. Army veteran visiting a hospitalized friend was overheard by a staff nurse complaining that his mouth was hurting very badly. The nurse took a look and suggested that he call Easter Seals Dixon Center Operation Vets THRIVE’s Community OneSource in Cincinnati right away because it turned out that he had two teeth broken down to the filling. Further, the nerve on one tooth was exposed, exacerbating the pain, and the other tooth was infected.
Although the veteran had a pending case to claim service-related disability benefits due to ongoing back issues, he did not have any means of accessing or paying for dental care. Community OneSource staff tracked down a local dentist who agreed to provide free dental care as a way of giving back to those who had served in the military. The dentist extracted one tooth, saved the other and prescribed medications to deal with the infection and the pain. The patient felt immediate relief and was thankful to return to his “regular” life.
Assistance in Providing a Final Farewell
The American Red Cross contacted Easter Seals Dixon Center Community OneSource in Southern Ohio with a heartbreaking story, asking for assistance from Operation Veterans THRIVE. A local woman faced a terrible dilemma. She cared for her nephew, a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, as if he was her own son. After an honorable discharge, this young man returned to Afghanistan as a civilian contractor educating Afghan security forces. A month before he was scheduled to come home to see his newborn son, he was killed by a suicide bomber. Even though his aunt served as his surrogate mother, neither the Army nor the civilian company for whom he worked would help her travel to the funeral.
While numerous organizations have been established in an effort to assist veterans and their families, these organizations usually restrict assistance to immediately family. Although she had stepped into the role of this man’s mother, the veteran’s aunt was technically ineligible to access this assistance.
Community OneSource personnel contacted more than 30 establishments in an attempt to obtain financial assistance, but it seemed as if no one would help. Finally, Community OneSource Specialists found a local organization that not only paid for the aunt’s transportation, but gave her some extra cash for the road. The week following the funeral, she called Community OneSource to let them know that the funeral service was beautiful and provided some small measure of solace. Her nephew’s son had made the effort to get transportation worthwhile, but the aunt’s gratitude made it truly meaningful to the Community OneSource staffers.