Meet the Smiths

When a fire devastated a Santa Rosa County family and destroyed their home, they dialed 211 for assistance.

The 211 Northwest Florida Information and Referral Specialist connected the family to resources to help them relocate and replace medications and medical equipment: the American Red Cross for post-fire disaster assistance, Goodwill for their medical equipment assistance program, and local resources for food, clothing, and furniture.

During the conversation with 211, the caller mentioned one of the people living in the house was a Vietnam Veteran, so our specialists connected them to our Florida Veterans Support Line (FVSL). A Veteran Care Coordinator reached out to the caller’s father. He learned the father was dealing with more than just the fire. He lost his wife just three months earlier to Covid-19. The Veteran shared that he appreciated having someone to talk to and listen to him.

The Care Coordinator learned the Veteran was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam with the 101st and had received the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart medals. The Care Coordinator contacted the Military Order of the Purple Heart to advocate for the Veteran. The Care Coordinator was able to secure financial assistance and connect the Veteran with the local military/veteran community to share his story and receive support.

With a conversation that started with a hello, our 211 helped a family on the road to recovery and connected a Vietnam Veteran to the FVSL team and the local Veteran community to help him during challenging times.


*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 these clients. The Florida Veteran’s Support Line is locally managed by 211 Northwest Florida and United Way of West Florida.