By Kevin Stone
Kevin Stone is a veteran who served in the Marines as an aviation mechanic for five years. When he returned from the base in Cherry Point, North Carolina, to his hometown of Danville, he said, “there was nothing for me there.” He traveled from place to place in search of a job with decent pay. When he arrived in Salem, he was homeless and unemployed. That’s when someone from another local nonprofit connected Kevin with TAP.
Making the Difference
Our Veterans Services help veterans keep or gain housing, usually by helping them find employment. The program is designed to fill gaps in the assistance that the Veterans Health Administration provides. This includes offerings such as transportation to and from jobs, a nice outfit to wear to interviews, and financial management classes.
For Stone, receiving one-on-one help with job searches made the difference. When he met with our job coordinator for homeless youth, Kathleen Nettnin, she helped him improve his résumé, look for jobs, and prepare for interviews. After securing multiple interviews and then multiple job offers, he accepted a job.
A Fresh Start
Shortly after starting his new job, Stone hit a rough patch and distanced himself from services for a while. Kathleen reached out to him regularly to offer further help. When he was ready, Stone came back and worked with Kathleen to find another job. Veterans Services provided him with bus passes and other supplies, plus the option of mental health referrals.
After a successful job search, Stone decided to put his skills to use as a diesel mechanic. His new job allowed him to move out of the temporary housing that Veterans Services had provided. He got his own permanent housing in an area of his choice.
Now, Stone has gotten situated in civilian life. He’s received support to overcome obstacles to getting and keeping a job, and gained a consistent advocate to whom he can always turn for advice and encouragement. When asked how things have changed for him because of the program, Stone said he has “a good job, multiple job opportunities even still, [and] somewhere to lay my head at night. Really just peace of mind.”
Stone has some advice, too. “Don’t be afraid to reach out. Everybody needs help at some point in their life.”
- Submitted by TAP