This story is part of HVAF’s annual tradition: 12 Vets of Christmas, where each day we are featuring a veteran whose life has been positively changed because of the essential services and programs HVAF provided in 2021.
When Jennifer received her honorable discharge in 2002, she felt lost.
“It definitely was a culture shock. I didn’t have that purpose that I had before,” Jennifer said. “I didn’t know where my place was.”
She coped with her mental health struggles by using drugs.
“I dealt with it the unhealthy way,” Jennifer said. “I didn’t really know what resources were out here at the time.”
For years, Jennifer continued to use drugs. She finally received treatment at the Indiana Veteran Affairs Hospital and overcame her drug addiction.
In 2017, she received the terrible news that her husband had cancer. They came to HVAF for help, as she needed to be his full-time caregiver. For the next six months, HVAF took care of their bills while Jennifer took care of her husband.
“That time I was able to spend with him was very valuable,” Jennifer said. “It was time where I look back and know it meant a lot.”
After her husband passed away, she turned to a new substance – alcohol. In just a few years, she had three DUI’s and faced federal prison. Thankfully – Veterans Court helped her.
According to the Indianapolis Government website:
IVC provides a specialized court docket that focuses on veterans’ and active duty military members’ unique needs. It also creates a therapeutic environment where structured treatment, close court supervision, and supportive interventions address impairments that can lead to criminal activity.
At IVC, they referred her to the VA’s vocational rehabilitation program – where she could work for the VA while receiving treatment at the same time. Because the stipend she would receive working for the VA wasn’t enough to keep the lights on, she came back to HVAF for help.
HVAF took care of Jennifer’s rent and utilities while she went through the program. After successfully completing the program, Jennifer now has a full-time job at the VA.
“This is something I’ve never been able to do, so to be able to have that chance is amazing,” Jennifer said, “It’s doing logistics, like what I did in the military.”
According to her case manager, Ashley, Jennifer was able to save her money during this time to be able to purchase her own car. Now she has a reliable means of transportation for getting to work and necessary appointments.
“Jennifer was super communicative,” Ashley said. “She was very open and honest about what she was using her money for. It’s rewarding when veterans share how they use their finances in a proactive way.”
Jennifer is so thankful for HVAF as she believes she wouldn’t be where she is today without the case managers’ constant support.
“When you come into HVAF’s building, there’s a support network here,” Jennifer said. “There’s just something that feels like home when you’re here.”
YOUR continued support ensures that other veterans like Jennifer receive the life-changing help they need. Will you make a tax-deductible donation today to support those veterans?