Texas is a big state with many small towns. A call came in from a male Navy veteran in a small rural town of 5,076 people. He and his wife were in desperate need of food. They had been managing a hotel, which had been sold. In such a small town there were no other employment opportunities. Moving to another location wasn’t an option; they didn’t have the financial resources. They had only the tiny trailer they lived in. No car.
The veteran needed medical care but the closest Community Based Outpatient Clinic where he could access his VA benefits was three hours away. His wife, who is wheelchair-bound, receives a small amount from SSDI. After their monthly bills were paid, they had $133 for food, and even that wasn’t reliable due to his wife’s increasing costs for medicine.
They were surviving on a monthly box of mostly canned vegetables from the food bank. Because they had no car and were in such a remote place, even getting them a Walmart gift card from Feed our Vets wouldn’t work because the nearest Walmart is an hour away by car.
The vet said he’d been out on his bicycle to contact every church and organization he could think of. His NVF counselor called The National Guard Family Program who provided an additional emergency box of food and $50. Then the counselor called every church in town. Only one was willing to help—Agape Family Outreach Church, on the edge of town. The vet didn’t even know it was there. This church gave him a $125 gift card for the local grocery store. They also offered him a part-time job as a handyman, a job he’d been doing for years.
This is where the story takes an unexpected turn for the good. The church needed a drummer in their band, and this Navy vet was…you guessed it…a drummer.
Afterward, the NVF counselor said that in such a small town, where there wasn’t even an American Legion post, it would have been difficult to impossible to find any resources. It took a leap of faith to think of calling every single church. And it took two days.
We don’t give up.
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The worst part of war should not be coming home.