It’s just an ordinary day in the office, but Wendell Guillermo’s elbows are on the desk and his head is bowed in tight concentration as he walks a caller to the Lifeline for Vets through the multi-page form in front of him on his desk. You get the sense of how confusing this paperwork can be when Wendell says, “The second page itself, is the application.” He pinches the bridge of his nose while his caller is probably making a note, then he continues. “Alright.” Now they’re on the same page. “So the third page,” he pauses, “the third page is where you send the application, but it depends on what branch of service, when you served. It gives you a number and that number coincides with where you have to send the application.”
In front of Wendell, Steve Duby is on the phone with a caller, recommending a referral with a phone number that ends “…7-8-4-0.” He speaks clearly and slowly. “Yes, ma’am.” Pause. “And then the other one is a Matt Taylor…” Not just one resource but at least two. Steve’s reading off his monitor, but you can see him check his cell phone as well.
This is how days on the hotline go. Queries on DD-214’s, on how to correct “bad paper” (a less-than-honorable discharge), where to find a Veteran Services Officer, legal or financial help, housing. If we get a call from a female vet, Mary Ann or Leaphy take it. If it’s a crisis call, we refer to social workers Mary Ann and Shad. The phones don’t stop. We’d love to expand our hours of service. That’s where you can help. Make a DONATION to the Lifeline for Vets today.
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The worst part of war should not be coming home.