Tony M. couldn’t find a job out of high school so he turned to the Marines. He served from 1983-1987. “To be honest, Rambo was hot, and I wanted to carry a pack and shoot a gun,” Tony said. He faced many physical challenges such as staying in shape and the stress of the job got to him emotionally. After serving, Tony turned to alcohol to solve his problems. His mother, who he was living with at the time, had terminal cancer. After she passed away, the property was sold, and Tony knew he had to do something. He contacted the VA who referred him to HVAF. Tony couldn’t say enough nice things about HVAF, especially about the people who worked with him. His case manager, Brian Andree, encouraged him to stay on track and directed him to the help. “After finding HVAF, there was a tiny light at the end of the tunnel—something I hadn’t seen in a long time,” Tony expressed. HVAF has given Tony time to reflect and think about his life. Tony lives in Carson Apartments and works at the Walmart Distribution Center in Plainfield. He is a true success story.
James B. served in the Air Force from the mid 1980s to early 1990s. James wanted to travel the world and fly, and he did just that. He’s been all over the world including Great Britain, Germany and Scotland. The actual war part of being in the military was hardest for James. “I always had to be ready to go,” he said. After serving, James also struggled with homelessness. He was stressed and unable to cope mentally with coming back to the real world. A friend of his searched for veteran programs and came across HVAF. James contacted HVAF in July 2015 and was provided services within the week. He remembers the first day he came to HVAF. “It was raining, and all I had was a bicycle with a red cart on it. It had all of my things in it,” he said. James wanted to give thanks to his case manager. Andree is constantly reaching to James to make sure he is okay. He helped James become a more positive person and change his life. James didn’t have a backup plan, but Andree helped him reach his goal. James thanks HVAF for making him more optimistic and resilient. He moved out of Carson Apartments in March and into his apartment and works for AT&T Directv.
Charity Chug is a non-profit organization that raises money for local organizations by creating social events. Cory Glowe, a founding member, said three coworkers at MOBI Wireless were trying to win a contest to see who could raise the most money within MOBI. They had huge success with Charity Chug, so they continued to do it. The Third Annual Charity Chug will be held on June 17, 2017 in Broad Ripple. The event is a bar crawl, and half of the proceeds will go to HVAF, while the other half goes to Growing Places Indy. Tickets are $15 each until May 1st where they will be $20. Charity Chug’s goal is to have 300 participants this year. More details can be found at charitychug.org.
Rashaun served in the Air Force in Korea (2008-2009), Iraq (2009-2010), Turkey (2011) and Afghanistan (2013). While serving, “getting used to wearing your weaknesses out in the open was hard to deal with,” he said. He focused on his vulnerabilities and turned them into strengths. Adjusting back to civilian life was hard for Rashaun. He picked up hobbies such as working out and volunteering. He also had a loving support system along the way to help him adjust. Still, Rashaun felt misunderstood when he came back. He was struggling with alcohol abuse when he reached out to HVAF. “They helped me, took care of me and got me housing,” he said. Kascha Koelling, his case manager, was a sounding board. She provide the veteran with necessities. Kascha and Rashaun established goals together, and she made sure he stayed on top of those goals. Rashaun also says HVAF Outreach Coordinator Rodney Jackson helped him along the way in getting his life back on track with supporting words of wisdom. Without HVAF, Rashaun believes he would still be on the streets. HVAF gave him a chance to get acclimated and helped him feel settled.
When C.W. was asked about receiving his bike, his eyes lit up. The Army veteran rides his bike to and from Denison Parking where he works. The bike has given C.W. more than he could have ever imagined: freedom and health. C.W. finally feels a freedom he hasn’t felt in a long time. “I’m able to go wherever I want, whenever I want,,” he explained. The bike helps him get to his destination more quickly and efficiently. His new ride is a Genesis Bike with all the bells and whistles. With the help of this bike, C.W. is moving forward and working toward his goal, which is taking on more responsibility and taking action every day to better his lifestyle. C.W. also mentioned the health benefits of riding his bicycle. Prior to HVAF, C.W. was an alcoholic, and the bike helps him sweat out any tendencies he is feeling. He’s getting back into shape by working different muscles. He feels like an overall healthier person.