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Veterans Corner: Birthdays Are Better With Good News

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By Dorothy Meindok

The Post Newspaper Veterans Consultant

Here’s some veteran-related good news to share! I am so happy because it feels like a birthday present learning about this. (Monday is my birthday and who doesn’t enjoy learning of goodness abounding on their birthday?)

Everyone needs a little good news now and then, whether to receive it or to deliver it. It’s one of the reasons I do what I do in helping veterans and their family members, as I can, with legal gifts to help in gaining awards of earned benefits. It’s one of my favorite things to do and I love to see that same spirit in others. These past few months have been filled with blessings as many have been awarded VA benefits right here in our part of Texas, benefits ranging from non-service connected pension help, widow’s benefits, helpless child awards to lawful awards of 100% status to some of our veterans that have worked since returning from Vietnam and Korea not ever knowing that they had benefits available. It truly takes a well-informed, caring citizenry for it to all manifest and work the way God designed it to. I am truly grateful to be right here at home, where I know that happens, because of everyday Americans like you.

This week I share with you a group that helps house our veterans and a writing from a Vietnam veteran brother highlighting a local veteran that is recipient to the good works. With the help of a local church in Galveston County’s League City, Bay Harbor Methodist and the veteran’s group there, Transitions Plus, this young combat veteran and his family will be able to live in appropriate housing, lessening the strain upon his broad shoulders that have served to protect us here at home and abroad.

The housing organization is SBP whose mission is “to shrink the time between disaster and recovery through five interventions: BUILD efficiently; SHARE our model with other organizations; PREPARE home and business owners through resilience training; ADVISE municipal and state officials, and ADVOCATE for policy changes and improvements to the disaster recovery industry. To achieve our mission, SBP takes a holistic approach to disasters—increasing resilience before and streamlining recovery after.” They say it best in that “Low-income veterans, especially those living with disabilities, face a high number of barriers and are among the populations most severely affected when a disaster strikes. However, they are often the last to self-advocate. A drawn-out recovery without a predictable path forward means prolonged trauma for those who were impacted, and this is especially true when safe and secure housing is lost. Through the Veterans Housing Rehabilitation and Modification Program, SBP addresses this problem by modifying or rehabilitating eligible veterans’ primary residences at no cost.” (See SBPUSA.org) I invite you to support the Bay Harbor and Galveston County community in their efforts to assist SBP and veteran Anthony Quinn, this is the second veteran to receive SBP assistance in our area of Texas in the past year and a half. We have many others that could benefit from their assistance, so please encourage veterans you know to apply by visiting the SBP website, shared above. Now please enjoy & learn more about the recipient of this extraordinary grant as shared by his veteran brother and local writer, Jim Stettler:

“It seems that everything we hear on the news these days tends to focus on all the bad news locally, nationally, and around the world. Wars in the Ukraine and Israel, crime in our neighborhoods, our broken immigration system, inflation, homelessness, gun violence, and internal political unrest are just a

few of the things that can send us all into a state of depression. Few of us can even begin to imagine the hardships and terror experienced by the innocent civilians living in Israel and the Gaza Strip.”

I want to live life in peace. Most of them are merely pawns in the big picture. While civilians are often the casualties of these circumstances, there are thousands of our military members who have sworn an oath to protect us. And they, too, are often the casualties of these conflicts in ways most of us can never imagine, but seldom do they get any attention once they try to transition back into civilian life.

And, so it is the case with Anthony Quinn, who spent three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a U.S. Marine who gave up anything that may have resembled a normal life for those ten years of active duty.

He came back home, but it has never been the home that most of us have tried to build, it has been filled with challenge after challenge, yet all is not lost. Occasionally, it is refreshing when we hear something that raises our spirits and re-establishes our faith in human kindness. After living in a post-military existence plagued by post-traumatic stress, otherwise known as PTSD, Anthony struggled to hold his family together. Always serving and giving back, he took in a long-time, homeless friend who was going blind from glaucoma while negotiating his way through the well-meaning, but sometimes less than efficient Veterans Administration. In the meantime, Anthony’s personal home that housed his family became dilapidated and unlivable. But that’s where the good news, that he so urgently needed, finally intervened to stop the downward spiral of depression that weighed on his shoulders. Anthony Quinn was informed of SBP, a charity that reaches out to help veterans in need. He applied for a housing-based program and was approved for a $40,000 grant to bring his personal residence backup to livable conditions. Not only that, but he also received a promise from the Bay Harbor Methodist Church in League City, to provide additional monetary assistance to help cover additional needs.

For more than ten years, Bay Harbor Methodist has provided a weekly meeting place and meal for veterans in need of support via Transitions Plus. The group is a military veteran peer network that provides care, assistance and guidance to those military members who have had a difficult time transitioning back into civilian life. No matter how challenging a veteran’s problems may be, something that will never be said at our Thursday night group is “Get over it.” This is because everybody in the group has faced their own struggles and this group is a safe place where veterans can share things that few people can understand, learn of resources, and make lifelong connections that adds to quality of life.”

EVERY Thursday night, no matter what else may be on the calendar, veterans meet up to support each other and someone is always there to listen. The group is open to men and women veterans. A special thank you to Bay Harbor for such support, thank you to the citizens of Galveston County and to our veteran community family. If you’d like to support Bay Harbor’s initiative in covering the extra needs cost please reach out to the church directly or contact Transitions Plus group member & veteran Pete Wolfe, pjwolfe@pabc.aero.

Dorothy Meindok is The Post Newspaper’s Veterans Consultant. Ms. Meindok served her nation in the United States Navy and is currently a practicing lawyer advocating for our nation’s veterans. Her column appears on Sundays.

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1 comment

Melissa Blair October 22, 2023 - 8:05 pm

Thank you to all of those who continue to help veterans in active duty, transitioning home and already at home who might just need someone to listen too! Although I didn’t serve my grandfather did and to honor his legacy and to serve veterans and their families, I work through the USDA to help provide resources on finding federal careers for veterans and their spouses, if a veteran and/or their family wants to get into farming or ranching through local, state and federal resources plus the Battleground to Breaking Ground Program. for more info visit USDA Military Veteran Agricultural Liaison page, https://www.usda.gov/our-agency/initiatives/veterans or Battleground to Breaking Ground at https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/asset-local/battleground-to-breaking-ground/ I am always glad to help! Thank you to all who have served and their families too for the sacrifices and dedication. May God Bless All of You!

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