Jim lived in a homeless camp for more than four years because of a long-term addiction to alcohol. He finally overcame his addiction but he needed help getting off the streets and returning to a more stable and healthy lifestyle. He came into the Goodwill Manasota Veterans Services Program office looking for guidance and resources to help get his life back on track.
The team got him temporarily housed in a Veteran Hot Bed at the Salvation Army. They invited Jim to come back to the office for group therapy, job search assistance, and to network with other veterans who have lived through the journey he was currently taking.
Jim needed a bike for transportation for his job search. The veterans' services team linked him with community resources that set him up with not only a bike but also a lock and lights for the front and back of the bike. Now it was safe and legal to use, even at night; Jim was very appreciative.
And then tragedy struck. Just when it seemed as though Jim might truly be on the path to a better life, he was in an accident and passed away.
Now the veterans' services team switched its focus to Jim’s grief-stricken family. They learned that the family was struggling financially and did not know how they were going to be able to afford the cost of his burial. The Goodwill Veterans Services Program team was able to offer funding from the SERV (Special Emergency Resources for Veterans) program to offset the cost of his cremation, and worked with SRQ Vets secure get the remainder of the funds needed for the burial. Then the Goodwill Manasota operations department donated the funds for an urn so that the family would have one less thing to worry about.
Jim’s brother came to the veterans’ office to pick up the check for cremation services and the urn. Then the team sat down with Jim’s brother, taking time to comfort him and talk about their experiences with and impressions of Jim. They spoke about the pride and drive that Jim had, once he finally decided it was time to get off the streets. They reassured his brother that they would remember Jim for quite some time to come and reminded him that even though Jim passed away before he had accomplished all of his goals, he died happy and full of hope, something he had lost for a while.
Sometimes success is helping to get a veteran back on track and sometimes it means helping a family through the grief process. It’s what we do ...