The homeless Veteran calling from a mountain state didn’t let on, but our counselor sensed that he was in crisis. Between that first phone call and the most recent one, where he admitted that he’d been going to use his shotgun when he’d first called, it came to light that he had nothing to cook on. It was still winter where he lived. The solution: an NVF Board member went online and had a hotplate expressed to him. As much or more than its utility and the comfort of warm food again, was the gesture of kindness from a stranger. Sometimes the first step away from the brink can be something this concrete and simple.
It gets better. Our counselor connected him to a woman who specializes in MST (Military Sexual Trauma) who is a VSO (Veteran Service Officer) and a former Army chaplain. The 2 1/2 hours the Vet spent with her the first day worked wonders. The following week he had an appointment at the homeless drop-in center at the local VA. He’s no longer considering checking out.
Mary Ann Mayer, NVF social worker and Women Veterans program director, said, “Some of our veteran callers need this level of advocacy. My hopes in growing our capacity is that we can train more staff in this type of case management and we can hire another social worker or two to assist with this level of work.”
More than two would be even better. The need is out there. It’s been our goal for a long time to have the Lifeline for Vets crisis hotline open 24/7. Your generous gift at Memorial Day will help us get there.
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The worst part of war should not be coming home.