During New Year’s individuals and families re-evaluate, reset and recharge. Many set goals and “resolutions” for the coming year, while others bask in the freedom of an empty calendar brimming with possibilities.
2022 was a difficult year with record high housing prices, steep inflation, and constant stock market churn. Often, the only thing that was certain in 2022 was uncertainty. However, 2023 is here and it’s important to use this time to rediscover the blessings in our lives. Nothing illustrates this better than our friend and client Bill. He’s entering 2023 with the joy that comes through rediscovering life, and it’s all because of you.
While most of our clients “graduate” from HOPE within a few months, Bill’s struggles were different. We knew the battles he was facing wouldn’t be conquered overnight. He initially approached HOPE after the passing of his wife. Years of caregiving left Bill with mounting bills, and he had also been recently diagnosed with cancer because of exposure to Agent Orange in the Vietnam War, adding further emotional and financial strain to his situation. Bill’s greatest challenge though came from not being able to access his military benefits and pension.
Bill proudly served as a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Air Force and Army. His 26 years of service included two tours in Vietnam where he was a helicopter door gunner. After his time in the service he was a member of the Military Police Corps.
Our first priority was to help Bill navigate the process to access his benefits. We also helped him through our choice food pantry and with case management, but just as things were turning a corner Bill’s cancer returned again after going into remission. In fact, it would recur multiple times during his time with us. Then right before the pandemic struck, Bill was evicted and he became homeless – his only place to sleep being a friend’s garage. We managed to get him back into housing but his struggles accessing his benefits and pension continued.
Then, just last month, success struck! After years of hard work, diligence, and patience, Bill received his pension. He stopped in recently with a spring in his step and a smile as big as the moon as he told us his plans for the new year. He will finally be able to settle down in a home, and he’s already received eye surgery on one of his eyes and he will be receiving much needed dental care. He also purchased a used Dodge Charger which he loves. During his visit he told us,
“Getting over the initial reluctance, as a man, to reach out and receive help was hard, but the help that ensued gave me the strength to survive and motivated me to press on. Hope is a family, I don’t know where I’d be without them.”
Currently, we’re helping him learn how to manage his newly acquired income, including budgeting and financial counseling. Last but not least, Bill told us he was coming back, not as a client but…to volunteer! We’re excited to have Bill remain a part of the HOPE family and are thrilled for his new exciting chapter in life.
Bill’s story is the perfect illustration for the new year. As a friend of HOPE you bring life to those in need just like Bill, and we thank you for that! Thank you again and Happy New Year!