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.

Ernest F.

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.

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