United Way of West Florida's Information and Referral Hotline, 211 Northwest Florida, recently had a veteran referred to them by the Red Cross. The 211 I&R Specialist recognized that information alone was not enough to help and connected the veteran to the Florida Veteran Support Line.
Tyrone, a veteran, and his wife recently experienced a house fire in their kitchen that went through their walls and ceiling. The fire department responded to the fire and extinguished it before it spread through the house, but still, there was a substantial amount of damage and smoke.
The veteran and his wife stayed with family and at a hotel for a few days with assistance from the Red Cross. After about four days, they were allowed back into their home to access the damage. During their house inspection, they found out that all their appliances and most of the kitchen items would have to be replaced.
Tyrone and his wife, on a fixed income, could not afford the repairs and needed help. The Florida Veterans Support's Care Coordinator (CC) worked on connected the Pensacola Veterans Support Organization Network (PVSON) and other local veterans' groups to assist Tyrone and his wife. The CC received a flood of emails and phone calls from groups and individuals wanting to donate money and even appliances to assist with their recovery.
Working with two local Veteran groups, Chapter #566 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Northwest Florida Patriot Guard Riders, and three individuals veterans in the community, the CC was able to raise $850 and a donation of a gently used stove, in just two days! The CC coordinated delivery of the stove and a brand-new refrigerator and microwave to the couple just 10 days after the fire destroyed their entire kitchen! With the money left over from the donations, the CC was able to put the remaining $100 into a gift card so the veteran and his wife couple replace food or other kitchen items that they still needed.
Tyrone and his wife are extremely loving and kind people that cannot wait to pay it forward to someone else once they are back on their feet. Through the connections in the Veteran community that we have built with the Florida Veterans Support Lines, this was made possible!
For veterans and their loved ones who don't know where to turn, the Florida Veteran's Support Line is there to help. Simply dial 2-1-1 or 1-844-MyFlVet (693-5838) to speak to a fellow veteran trained to provide emotional support and share connections to community services. This service is completely free, confidential, and available 24/7.
*211 Northwest Florida and the Florida Veteran’s Support Line are both completely confidential services. For the purpose of this article, a fictional name has been attributed to this client. The Florida Veteran’s Support Line is locally managed by 211 Northwest Florida and United Way of West Florida.
Prevention is the key to reducing the suicide rate among our veterans throughout Florida. With early identification and intervention that we can prevent that proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” and make an impact in reducing veteran suicides!