A Charlotte Veteran’s Grant Application

TAVF-Identity SlideCold Showers in Charlotte, NC

An Army Veteran that served in Operation Enduring Iraqi Freedom recently contacted our foundation because she saw online that we offer grants to Veterans. She had been out of work for a while but she was a few months into working a new job. She was getting back on her feet again. She fought to keep a roof over her head, she kept the power on but her natural gas had been disconnected because of a past due balance.

I had the chance to talk to her on the phone a few times while reviewing her application. It became apparent to me that she had just fallen behind on some bills and she couldn’t get caught back up. I also found out that for about 3 weeks, her options for keeping clean were to either take a cold shower or boil water to get a hot bath.

We are thankful that she took the first step, which was making the decision to reach out and ask for help. The fact though is that many Veterans won’t ask for help because there are so many hoops to jump through when they do need assistance. How could we really blame them for feeling that way?  Very little action has been taken to change that mentality so far during my lifetime.

Think about this for a moment, here is a war Veteran who came back home from serving in Iraqi. Is there ever a time where she or any other Veteran for that matter should have to go back to living without all the conveniences they fought to preserve? I say no, there should never be a time where a Veteran goes without shelter, without food or all the conveniences an American way of life offers.  America is failing our Veterans. There is an ongoing debate on how to provide more assistance to them but the fizz has gone flat on enacting actions to help. We can sit down and understand how to help them as quickly as we can decide to send them into battle.

Thinking about this Veteran, I realized there are a few mentalities of service within our country. If you have ever been a civilian in a government agency, you know there is no customer service. You are a number and there is a job to do, so wait your turn “we will get to you”. When it comes to private enterprise, the customer is king! Serve your customer with excellence and they will reward you with new clients to serve. If we are ever going to improve care for Veterans, we really need to adopt an expectation of excellence in taking better care those who have served us all.

 

No more dark, cold nights for NC Marine

A few days ago we received a Grant Application from a US Marine who served 2 tours of duty in Afghanistan. He was discharged in 2013 and worked in security until he was laid off last September. He lives in a modest apartment outside Greensboro, NC and he cares for his disabled father who lives with him. He has been searching for a position in security or police work but has had no success.

 

A North Carolina UTILITY company worked with him for many months to try and manage his bill but the Marine was unable to make any payments because the money he did get a hold of had to pay the rent and the food bill.  On January 21, 2015 the utility company decided to disconnect his power and his water service. For 8 days, he had no water and no power in his home – 8 days. He reached out for help around his town but had no luck. He went to the internet searching for answers and found one of the ads we had placed for helping Veterans. He submitted his grant application on our website and we found a way to help him.

 

The best thing about this story is, we could have never helped this American unless it was for people like you!  See, his bill got pretty large, over $1400.00 to be exact.  After reading his grant application and speaking with him over the phone, I had no idea how we were going to help him but I knew that we had to help him. This man fought for our freedom as an Infantryman for 2 tours of duty – halfway across the world at that! He or any other Veteran for that matter, doesn’t deserve to spend a single night in the dark or cold inside America…he went 8 days!

 

We only had a few hundred bucks in the bank so we had to put the word out to our friends and family on social media. We made a few phone calls to some other non-profits located near this Veteran and everyone pitched in to make it right. As I sit back and think about this Marines story, I can’t help but to think about his thoughts to himself the first night his utilities were gone. He didn’t tell me and I didn’t ask but in my mind I imagine that was a pretty lonely place – one where he thought no one cared.

 

Something tells me at some point he thought to himself; that a few cold nights in a dark apartment – in the middle of NC is way better than any day in Afghanistan. I don’t know that for sure but what I do know is….one Marine and his father are warm today and they know people care.

 

May God Bless You Soldier, Thank You For Your Service !