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. at HVAF|
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 3rd annual Charity Chug event will be held on June 17, 2017 in Broad Ripple and the group has chosen to contribute half the proceeds raised 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.
“I’ve always been the type of person who wanted acceptance to make sure people were taken care of,” Ellen M. said. She served in the Army from 1990- 2013. Ellen wanted to be a part of something bigger than herself—the military. She was looking for a purpose in life. Her story about choosing the Army is interesting. Originally, Ellen wanted to join the Air Force. She went to Danville, IL to the recruiting station and the Air Force recruiters were off to lunch. An Army recruiter approached her and the rest is history. Ellen appreciated the cohesiveness of the Army. She faced many challenges, especially after she started to have kids. The military helped her learn research skills, which lead to her research veteran support organizations. Since Ellen started having trouble paying her rent last November, she turned to the Military Family Relief Fund and other resources to help her out. The Military Family Relief Fund referred her to HVAF. Although Ellen was never homeless, she believes she would be homeless without HVAF’s efforts. Adam Velazquez, her case manager, went above and beyond to help Ellen out. “He connected with me and got me help right away,” she said. Ellen currently works at Aspire/InteCare and Great Clips on the weekends.
The 4-H Fishing Club of Spencer, Indiana hosted a cookout for the veterans at our Moreau property on March 16. The club has 50 members ages kindergarten to 12th grade. The 4-H Fishing Club has always been very passionate about serving veterans. They hold a Veterans Day dinner each year. The members cook the meal and serve it to those who attend. One of the club’s goals is to teach its members about what it is to be a veteran and how important helping veterans is. They believe learning respect toward veterans is valuable and something most organizations should teach. This isn’t the first time the club donated their resources toward HVAF. The club has held events in the past such as a fishing day. Veterans traveled to Spencer and had a fishing expedition and picnic with the club members. The 4-H Fishing Club sent fishing gear back with the veterans in hopes of them being able to take more fishing trips. The members enjoyed meeting the veterans and look forward to future events with HVAF.