12 Vets of Christmas Day 3: Navy Veteran SherryDecember 18, 2023
12 Vets of Christmas Day 5: Army Veteran JJDecember 18, 2023
This blog post is part of HVAF’s annual tradition: 12 Vets of Christmas, where each day for 12 days, we feature a veteran whose life has been positively changed because of the essential services and programs your support made possible in 2023. Thank you for supporting HVAF and our veterans.
Time in the military
After losing his job in 1977, Michael decided to enlist in the Army so he could keep his car. He worked as a dispatcher and mechanic until 1980.
With February being Black History Month, Michael could not recall any remembrance or celebration of the special month while in the military. He said he experienced more prejudice in the military than in the civilian world, which lead him to getting out.
Once honorably discharged, Michael came back to Indianapolis to work in a variety of jobs over the years – in industries including factory, hotel, cooking, warehouse, and landscaping.
Two years ago, Michael got out of a long-term relationship and needed a place to live. Having lived near HVAF’s Veterans Villa, he knew about it and decided to stop in and see if there was any availability. Thankfully for him, there was a unit ready for him!
“I love it. It’s quiet and nobody bothers me,” Michael said. “I have no problems here.”
Unfortunately, shortly after moving in, Michael was diagnosed with leukemia. Off and on since then, Michael has received treatment for his cancer from the VA. HVAF’s case manager, April, has been there to support him as well.
Michael said April has been a big help, as she’s assisted him with receiving early retirement, electric bill assistance, and HVAF’s SSVF services.
Being part of a family
April said when Michael first lived at Veterans Villa, he kept to himself and hardly came out of his room. But one evening, when Whitestone Ministries made their monthly visit to serve dinner, they spent time praying over Michael. Since then, he has attended each dinner and socialized more with everyone.
“His illness has given him that sense that he’s part of a family,” April said. “He’s happier, although he still needs that extra moral support because he’s still going through it.”
Michael’s main goal in life now is to defeat cancer and feel healthy again. Once he feels better, he hopes to give back to the community by volunteering.
“We’re really glad he’s here. He’s quiet, he’s never caused a moment’s trouble,” April said. “He’s pleasant, and just a good guy. We’re glad to have him.”
We can’t ensure veterans, like Michael, receive life-changing services to reach self-sufficiency without your support. Will you continue to support veterans in need and invest in the fight to end veteran homelessness by sending in your most generous gift by December 31st? Please send in your year-end tax-deductible donation to support Hoosier Heroes in 2024 .