Serving those who served
Each month Goodwill of the Heartland’s Veterans Services tells the success story of one veteran who benefited from our assistance. The resilience and passion shown by the people we serve continues to inspire us.
Kyle joined the United States Army in June of 2004. He served overseas in Iraq and was awarded a campaign. Kyle was discharged, a combat vet, in October of 2008.
In November 2021, the HVRP team reconnected with Kyle through a routine check in with past participants who had previously been exited from HVRP. The team learned that Kyle had recently lost his job. He had missed too many days of work due to needing to stay home to care for his daughter when she had COVID. He was unable to pay his rent and had no other income. He knew that if he did not find a job quickly he would be in danger of eviction. Kyle was open to any employment to help him bring in income to be able to stay in his rental with his family. The HVRP team assessed, enrolled, and began assisting him to find employment immediately. Kyle was accountable and met with his Vocational Counselor regularly. One of Kyle’s barriers for employment was his lack of reliable transportation. He shared his vehicle with his fiancé and it was in ill repair and not trustworthy.
Kyle’s Case Manager assisted him in updating his resume and was able to connect him with multiple job opportunities. After a few weeks of putting in job applications, he received an interview at Westway Foods. In December, he was hired by Westway Foods working 40 hours per week and making $18/hour on second shift. This job was close to his rural town in Illinois. The HVRP team assisted Kyle with steel toed boots and some winter gear needed for employment and working outside in the cold. Kyle was very thankful for the team’s assistance and the ability to have employment close to his home. After a few weeks his case manager checked in and Kyle reported loving his job and that he was doing well!
In January of 2022, Kyle reached out because he was having continued trouble with his vehicle. Kyle had two days off work to get his vehicle fixed. He had taken it to the shop but didn’t have the funds to pay for the repairs. Kyle was concerned about losing his job if he could not get back to work after the days off he was given. The HVRP team was able to assist Kyle with the $139.09 bill to get his car running again so he could return to work and maintain his employment.
Kyle has maintained a positive attitude and has utilized the HVRP program in the way it has been intended for the betterment of his and his family. He has been willing to ask for assistance when needed and has been accountable to his word and appointments. Kyle loves his job and in spite of only being there a short time has shown leadership skills on the line and is being considered for permanent employment with the company. Kyle plans to stay at the company and has ideas and plans for improvements in his work area.
Ernest joined the United States Army in June of 1968. He completed his service with the Army in July of 1973 with an Under Other Than Honorable Conditions discharge.
In January of 2021, Ernest was referred to us by Health Care for Homeless Veterans and enrolled in HVRP. At the time, Ernest was staying at Humility Homes and Services through their GPD program. Ernest was traveling from Wisconsin to St. Louis to stay with family when his motorized bike broke down. Ernest could not afford the needed parts to fix his bike, so he was stuck in Davenport. Ernest was willing to stay in the Quad City area if he was able to find housing and employment to supplement his Medicare benefits.
Ernest is a licensed forklift operator and was looking for meaningful part-time employment to utilize his skills. To provide him with immediate training opportunities, he participated in Goodwill’s 12-week retail training program, which included weekly classroom training. This allowed Ernest to build confidence in the workforce after a short pause in employment due to caring for his ailing wife. During this time, Ernest was able to obtain income-based housing, thus ending his homelessness. At the end of the 12-week training program, Ernest received news from his doctor, suggesting he take some time off work and focus on improving his health.
With doctor’s orders to take it easy, Ernest was struggling to find ways to stay busy. Ernest’s knowledge of the workforce, his work ethic, and his experience with homelessness led the Veteran’s team to reach out and ask him to join Goodwill’s Veteran Advisory Committee. The group provides feedback from the prospective of the veterans participating in HVRP. Ernest was always an active participant in the training groups and we new his input would be very beneficial to the committee. Ernest accepted this role and joined the committee in May. Ernest has been able to provide insight and feedback that is assisting us in providing quality assistance to all veterans in the program.