Homeless veteran moves into his own home

Eric B. was in the United States Army Reserves from 1983- 1987. He worked as a combat engineer doing construction type projects. Eric lost his apartment and couch surfed at family members’ homes for 8 months.  He was addicted to cocaine and completed the detox treatment at The Salvation Army Harbor Light and was sober for a little over a year. His rock bottom point was when he experienced suicidal tendencies. The VA hospital took him in for several days and referred him to HVAF. Eric started the program in March 2016 and finished up in January 2017. HVAF helped set the foundation for Eric’s recovery. He feels mentally, physically and spiritually better than he has in a long time. HVAF transformed his life and brought him closer to God, according to Eric. Eric currently works for My City Transportation in Indianapolis 6 days a week. He resides at Lucille Raines, a sober living environment, where he attends three to four meetings a week. 

Volunteer uses life struggles to give back to homeless veterans

After volunteering in HVAF's clothing pantry, Karen Thomas, an Army veteran, saw the need to raise the clothing racks higher off the ground to allow for more clothes to be stacked. She asked her husband, Bill, for help her with the project and together they purchased the materials needed. 

Karen began volunteering at HVAF in January. Every Tuesday and Thursday she sorts and stocks donations and makes sure the pantry is organized. 

After her divorce, she faced some financial uncertainties. “I faced poverty for a brief period of time, and realized it can happen to anyone in any circumstance.” She feels as though anyone who serves our country should not have to face homelessness. 

Karen served our country for two years in the Army and five years in the National Guard. She knows her heart is in the right place to serve those in need. 

Homeless veteran serves others

Cindy was based at Coronado Island from 1978-1982 while serving in the US Army. She has been volunteering at HVAF for five months. She enjoys passing out food and hygiene items to the veterans we serve. Cindy would feel depressed and sad if it wasn’t for the volunteer opportunities at HVAF.  She gets to greet veterans who have it worse than her, which makes her appreciate her life. “It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life,” she said about volunteering at HVAF. Cindy also mentioned how great the staff is at HVAF. She had kind words to say, especially about how “awesome” Robin is. Cindy lives at the Moreau House, one of the 13 HVAF properties.  

Ex-offender finds new purpose through HVAF employment assistance

“I knew I was gonna join up and serve my country,” said Jeremy J. His grandfathers were both in the military, so he knew he was meant to serve. Jeremy joined the Army in 1993 and enjoyed the training and discipline the Army had to offer.  He attended Marion Military Institute in Alabama after his career ended in 1996.  Jeremy faced challenges such as alcoholism and drug abuse that eventually led to his incarceration at the Putnamville Correctional Facility. While serving time, he met James Miller, a HVAF peer mentor. Jeremy found a new beginning after serving his sentence time. Kiara Walker, a HVAF employment specialist, helped Jeremy during his time at HVAF. Jeremy explained that Kiara helped him create the best résumé and cover letter he ever had. “I am eternally grateful for this organization,” he said. She would also text daily and meet with him once a week to find job opportunities. Jeremy was never afraid of the stigma that came with being incarcerated and finding a job. He had a positive attitude and kept pressing forward. Jeremy now works at Central Indiana Hardware in Indianapolis. 

Rolls Royce serves up for those who served

Back in December, Chris Cholerton and eight members of the Defense Leadership Team for Rolls Royce took time out of their meeting schedule in Indy to undertake a community service project.  

The Team chose to help HVAF and prepared a meal for the residents of the Residential, Employment and Substance Abuse Treatment (REST) program.  The Team also dined with the residents and met with the leaders of HVAF to learn about their services and programs to help veterans in Central Indiana.

During the visit they presented HVAF with a check for nearly $5,800, comprising the funds collected by teams at our Operations and Meridian Center facilities during the week of Veterans Day plus an additional matching contribution from Rolls-Royce.

DLT member and US Army veteran Adam Riddle said “It was a truly rewarding and humbling experience for all of us. Organizations like the HVAF do great work helping veterans who have fallen on hard times to get back on their feet.”

“I think we all enjoyed being able to put something back into the community in which Rolls-Royce plays an integral role and also found it a great way of strengthening our team dynamic.”

American Legion gives back to HVAF

HVAF is appreciative for the commitment of the American Legion Auxiliary to our homeless veterans.  Rita Ellis, American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) 7th District President, visited HVAF in early November. She shared what she learned about HVAF with the ALA Presidents in the 7th District including Phyllis Banks, ALA Unit 479 President. Phyllis then shared the information with her daughter, Kari Shelton, who created a sock drive as a Veterans Day related educational activity for her students at Sugar Creek Elementary. Kari collected 756 socks and Phyllis delivered them to our HVAF headquarters. We were particularly moved by the effort to educate elementary students about who veterans are and what they contribute to defending and preserving our American freedoms and way of life.