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Enrolling in VetWorks
Last summer, Army National Guard veteran Michael noticed people in high-vis shirts sweeping the streets of Downtown Indianapolis. They told him they worked as Street Ambassadors for Downtown Indy, Inc. through HVAF’s VetWorks (Veterans Workforce Renewing Knowledge and Skills) program. As a veteran himself already seeking HVAF’s services, he decided to enroll in VetWorks.
Michael graduated from Phase I of the program last fall, and still works at Downtown Indy while his employment specialist helps him find a career.
“He’s just such a joy to work with. He’s easily one of my hardest workers. Every time I go out and check on the guys, you never not see Michael working,” His employment specialist, Cole, said. “His work ethic is unmatched like any other veteran I’ve seen. He’s just incredible.”
Hurdles to overcome
One major hurdle Michael has had to overcome is his lack of hearing.
“I can hear things like a mile away but I’m not quite sure what I hear,” Michael said. “Or when people talk, there are certain words, I can hear them say the whole thing, but I might miss a word or two.”
Another hurdle is lack of health insurance. Due to serving in the National Guard and not being called up to serve, he does not qualify for Veterans Affairs benefits. Cole was determined to find another way for Michael to receive a hearing aid. So, he reached out to Lucy, HVAF’s Healthcare Navigator, and she let him know about Miracle-Ear.
When Michael went into the local Miracle-Ear center to receive a free hearing test, he learned about their Gift of Sound program – where he could apply to receive a hearing aid at zero cost. Michael applied and was approved! Now with his hearing aid, he said while sitting at the bus stop, he could hear the birds chirping – something he hasn’t been able to hear in a very long time.
“I was prepared to pay and be like ‘Well, that’s another bill to pay,’” Michael said. “Then I found out that they were free and that’s pretty good.”
Cole said he is so excited hearing is no longer a barrier for Michael as he continues to work towards a new career.
“This has quite literally opened many doors for him. Had he not come to us, I don’t think he would’ve gotten a hearing aid,” Cole said. “So that’s pretty rewarding and I’m really happy that we could do that for him.”
YOU can help veterans, like Michael, receive the support to achieve their career dreams by making a tax-deductible gift to HVAF: