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Andrea Carlile is HVAF’s Community Engagement Coordinator – where she spends most of her time out of the office and all over Indiana, meeting and spending time with HVAF’s supporters. She always comes back with some touching stories, and she would like to share this one with you:
Some good old fashioned comfort food, comradery, and connection can make such a difference in the lives of the veterans we serve!
I had the opportunity to attend a dinner put on by Whitestone Ministries at our property Veterans Villa. Every month, this great group of people give their heart, an inspirational message, and a hearty meal to our vets. Since Veterans Villa is one of our Permanent Supportive Housing units, the members of the ministry get to see the same group of vets every month. Bonds have formed and plenty of memories and life changing moments have ensued.
Sometimes, a simple chat can give a vet exactly what they need. This happened the night of my visit. I was enjoying some delicious homemade meatloaf, green beans, and macaroni and cheese. You know the meal, brings you back to mom’s cooking in the kitchen! April, who I like to call our “Case Manager Extraordinaire” at Vets Villa, shared about one of the vets and his incredible courage. Kenny had been seriously injured, which created a physical disability and made it almost impossible for him to be able to keep employment and led to chronic homelessness. Yet, always determined, he sought job after job believing he needed to work and earn an income. He is new to HVAF, and the hope is we can provide some long-term stability in his life. As I sat and listened to April, I noticed Kenny’s joy, sweet temperament, and humbleness. I was impressed as he didn’t seem to carry any bitterness or anger about the predicament he faced in life. He was very appreciative of HVAF and our staff.
Kenny needed a TV stand. He had no place to put his TV, and this was his only wish. One of the members of Whitestone Ministries was also listening to Kenny’s story and without any hesitation, he remembered he had an extra TV stand. Furthermore, he said he would deliver it the next day!
I smiled to myself at how such simple moments can mean so much to a vet in need. I also witnessed the work of April. Kenny mentioned it was a struggle for him to get groceries while taking the bus due to his physical limitations. April had replied that they didn’t normally provide such trips due to the workload. Yet, at the end of the evening, I heard April say to him, “We’ll get you to the store next week.” I left feeling very proud of the work HVAF does and was feeling pretty lucky I witnessed it firsthand. The hearts of the staff and volunteers were very evident, and I was overjoyed to see Kenny being blessed.
If you or your church, company, or civic group would like to connect and help serve veterans, please contact me. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 765-425-3366. Last year, we helped 1,329 unique veterans, so there are plenty more vets just like Kenny who need support! It takes all of us!