In late 2014, volunteers and donors in New Ulm and the greater Brown County area came together to help a homeless female (disabled) Veteran, her 5 year old daughter, and adult companion find housing, employment, and transportation.
The trio had been living in their broken-down car near the Minnesota River since summer. They needed to find work, transportation, and shelter before winter.
Veteran’s Van Purchased Through Donations
L-R: Gary Wiltscheck (DAV #15), Mike Krueger (Salesman & DAV #15), Holly, Savannah, & Alex,
Roy Janni (MOPH #807), Jon Gohr (Legion Riders Post 132)
The Veteran called a crisis line when the weather turned so cold in early November and was referred to MACV (Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans). Sue Worlds, Director of MACV immediately told the Veteran that MACV could help and for them to come into the Mankato office. There at MACV Holly, her daughter Savannah, and their companion Alex found the beginning of the help they desperately needed. Sue would later tell CVSO Greg Peterson how she heard the little girl say “that her tummy hurt, and she was hungry.”
Holly had been hired by 3M in New Ulm which is about 30 miles from Mankato. But without shelter, reliable transportation, or child care the well-paying job was simply out of reach. MACV instantaneously provided them with emergency shelter and food. Sue Worlds then contacted the Brown County Veterans Service Officer and asked his assistance to help the family find housing and transportation in New Ulm. With that information in hand CVSO Peterson pulled together a community action group consisting of: American Legion Post 132 and their Auxiliary, Riders, and Sons of the Legion; Beyond The Yellow Ribbon of Brown County; DAV #15 & their Auxiliary; Military Order of the Purple Heart #807; VFW Post 1648; Heart to Home; and Habitat for Humanity. The team jumped into action with each taking a piece of the situation. A whirlwind of activities ensued and within 72 hours the family was in a home, had furnishings complete with a decorated Christmas tree and wrapped presents for all.
CVSO Peterson then reached out to a local Ford Motor Company salesman who also happens to be a disabled Veteran for the possibilities of a vehicle purchase. Mike Kruger reduced a van from $1900 to $875 for this special situation. Members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart pulled together a $550 donation for the van purchase and CVSO Peterson wrote out a check using donated funds to cover the remainder. In addition the local DAV chapter donated food and fuel cards in excess of $350.
Volunteers provided the Veteran with a taxi service to her new job at 3M while the family was in crisis housing. They willingly took Holly to work at midnight and picked her up again when her 12-hour shift was over.
This story is a real success for the Veterans Service Organizations, volunteers and donors in the New Ulm area; and although no local publication has been made, caring people bring cash donations designated for the family. This afternoon we arranged a personal donation of $500 to be presented by a Korean Veteran to Holly.