We’ll call him ‘Bob’ -
Bob is a 10-year army veteran who returned to civilian life
8 years ago. He has a 7 year-old daughter. He is divorced and the courts recently awarded him full custody.
Bob contacted VA for financial assistance as he had just lost his job. And without employment and rent money, he was about to be evicted . . . he had no family to help, and a daughter now in his care. He was terrified!
Things had happened so quickly that Bob was unable to process it all. VA contacted me, and when I arrived to interview him, he was wearing a camo jacket, staring down at the table with his hands in his lap. It was the visual of a broken man. I started the visit with casual chat. His answers were short. Not curt, but clearly void of interest.
I asked about his situation, and he explained and concluded his summary with ‘I was a soldier, have been in life-threatening situations, but have never been as scared and helpless as I am right now.’ He kept repeating that ‘there is nothing I can do.’ I could feel his fear, and it was heartbreaking. The man was literally paralyzed with fear, with no idea what any ‘next step’ would look like.
I picked up the napkin on the table and said cheerfully enough to try to create interest, but not so cheerful as to mock his grief. “Let’s think together, Bob. Let’s just think out loud and see if we can figure out what to do next.’ He raised his head a bit. I began to ask questions and write on the napkin. He definitely qualified for our subsidies, but he needed more help than that! I guided him toward checking with other local charities (I described the process of googling – he was computer savvy), contact his local church, contact VFW, suggested he evaluate which contacts could potentially help immediately and those that were longer term.
As we visited, his head kept raising up a bit more and a bit more. I then began asking about new employment, even applying for unemployment, getting a reference letter from his previous employer (he had been let go, but on good terms). In his terror, he hadn’t been able to envision employment or work on a ‘moving forward’ plan – he was literally stopped in his tracks! I talked to him about temp/day work companies until he found employment. . . it was a lengthy conversation. . . and he walked out with napkin in hand!
Bottom line, in 5 days, I received this (unedited) heartwarming email from Bob: Yeah i did get a chance to talk to my last boss . . . no reason not to app to any job . I have an interview on tues. At 2:30 at ace hrdware. I have apps in at a few orher places like walmart, hotel6, and the dollar store. . . . I registrd with a day wrkr company. i will be in line evry day while I keep looking for a real job. it will put money in my pocket fast. feeling better less stressed . . . am moving forward again. i still have the napkin in my pocket. Taking steps. 1 day at a time. Thanks to you!!! So thank you!!!
GRASP loves it when we can offer more than $$.
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13762 Colorado Blvd
303 255 2855