Residents’ achievement of independence is critical to the success of The Veterans Group. Take a moment to meet some of our residents who have successfully completed the program. More stories will be coming soon.
Letter of Appreciation
Dear Board of Directors,
I want to extend my sincere gratitude for all that The Veterans Group has done to help me get back on my feet and improve my life.
Here is a brief background to what was going on in my life when I came in contact with The Veterans Group. In early 2016 I found myself jobless, homeless, and stranded in Philadelphia far from my home in Tucson, AZ. I came to Philadelphia when my job moved me here back in September of 2015. Through a series of health issues last fall I was discharged from my job, due to excessive absenteeism and hospitalization. My health, at the time, could no longer support my job commitment and I became stranded in Philadelphia. In late March 2016 I reached out to The Veterans Group and my hopes began to brighten for the first time in quite a while.
From the time I walked in the door the staff at The Veterans Group made me feel welcome, safe, and accepted. Mr. Reid, our house manager, came into the lobby, assessed my situation, and showed me to my room. At first I was to stay here for a few days and then transition to Impact, but after a few days I could see that this was the place for me to stay. Mr. Reid introduced me to Mr. Skinner and Mr. Martinez and we discussed the details of my extended stay.
Mr. Reid, Mr. Skinner, and Mr. Martinez have always treated me with utmost of respect and professionalism that made me feel honored to be a part of the house here on Baring St. Mr. Reid has gone out of his way several times to help me get established here. From going across town to gather my belongings when I moved in, taking me to Dr.’s appointments at the VA, and even taking me to the UPS store to ship out my belongings once I got my new job, Mr. Reid has always been there to help. Mr. Skinner introduced me to the Back on My Feet group and even took us in his personal car at 5:00 am 3 times a week to exercise with the group and make some new friends. Mr. Martinez extended the hand of generosity representing The Veterans Group when he congratulated me on my new job and said they were glad to help me in my transition. Wow, these guys don’t think twice about going above and beyond the call of duty to help out the vets!
In just a short time here I have made some close and lasting friends, regained my health, and accepted a new job in my career field, all due to the generosity of The Veterans Group. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Many thanks to Mr. Reid, Mr. Skinner, Mr. Martinez and all of the staff here at The Veterans Group for being so dedicated in their devoted service to me and all of the other veterans. A very special thanks to the Board for supporting The Veterans Group and what this place has meant to me personally.
My best regards,
Dear The Board of Directors:
When I first met Mr. Watson (who was referred to me by a mutual Veteran friend) he was in need of assistance obtaining food. He told me he was going through a tough time but felt that it was temporary and would soon pass. He just needed enough food to get him through the end of the month. So, I brought him to The Veterans Group and asked Mr. Reid (our house manager) to prepare a care package for him. In the time it took Mr. Reid to prepare the care package, Mr. Watson and I talked about his life and current situation. It wasn’t long before I realized he, like many other Veterans we deal with, was not receiving compensation from the VA. Before our discussion was over, I had already decided to help Mr. Watson in any way I can.
Our conversation had moved me deeply and I decided to personally drive him back to the Market-Frankford Line so he could return home. He was extremely thankful and became slightly emotional when I reached in my pocket and proceeded to give him additional assistance. As you already know, The Veterans Group is not in the habit of providing care packages to Veterans; frankly, it just isn’t in our budget. Nor is it in my personal budget to provide “additional assistance” to every Veteran that comes to our doorstep. But for some odd reason, (call it a gut feeling) I believed Mr. Watson’s story and felt the need early on to invest in him.
Unfortunately, three (3) months after our first encounter Mr. Watson’s situation had not improved. In fact, it appeared his situation had made a turn for the worst. After a brief conversation, we decided the best course of action was for Mr. Watson to become a resident at the Veterans Group. He agreed and moved in shortly after. The staff and started the process of determining what success would look like for him. We initiated a VA Compensation Claim and we determined that he was fit, able, and willing to work.
Mr. Watson did not have a known substance abuse problem, nor did he have a mental disability that kept him from obtaining work. He was simply an out-of-work Veteran who had lost decent employment and had fallen on hard times. He had training and experience in the pharmaceutical industry but had a one-time incident in his background that precluded him from attaining future employment opportunities. We at the Veterans Group, along with Mr. Watson, knew he had an uphill battle but we felt compelled to assist Mr. Watson in any way we could.
Mr. Watson’s tenacity to gain employment was only matched by his need of tokens for public transportation for his countless interviews. He kept me updated on his success and we assisted with letters of recommendation and phone calls on his behalf. Rumor has it that various staff members and residents of the Veterans Group even pooled their resources to help him purchase a suit. When I questioned them about this, all they said was, “This is what we do... we roll up our sleeves and put in the work to help our brothers help themselves.” I am not surprised by their generosity nor was I surprised to learn Mr. Watson recently gained a position as a Pharmacy Technician. The staff and residents at the Veterans Group celebrate in Mr. Watson’s victory and look forward to seeing more from this exceptional individual.
Jose M. Martinez
The Veterans Group