A veterans journey back home

"We are not meant to stay wounded. We are supposed to move through our tragedies and challenges and to help each other move through the many painful episodes of our lives. By remaining stuck in the power of our wounds, we block our own transformation. We overlook the greater gifts inherent in our wounds — the strength to overcome them and the lessons that we are meant to receive through them. Wounds are the means through which we enter the hearts of other people. They are meant to teach us to become compassionate and wise."
— Caroline Myss

Everyday, we have the opportunity to meet with veterans, to hear their stories, learn about their sacrifices, and to help heal their wounds. While we play a small role in their lives, we can only hope we create a lasting impact. We encourage the community to not only mourn those that have been lost but to celebrate and hold space for the many veterans that are standing before us today.

Today, we celebrate Derek, a veteran who is charismatic, energetic and has a heart of gold. Here is the story of his journey back home. 

When disabled veteran Derek, and father to six, returned from the Marines, he needed the help of the community to get back on his feet. Through conversation he was connected with multiple organizations including HACAP. While his journey with HACAP started with his family's story it grew into a much bigger partnership today. 

As Derek put it, HACAP provided a hand up, not a hand out, when he needed it the most. HACAP was able to assist Derek with immediate food needs and utility assistance as well as connecting him to the many resources that were available as a veteran. With this assistance he felt that a  huge burden was lifted which gave him the time to focus on his most pressing need, his health. 

Nowadays, Derek is not only an advocate for his family but the many veterans who live in his own community that are struggling to find their way. He saw a great need to help Veterans, and decided to create a not for profit organization, 22 No-More, right in Anamosa. Their mission is to prevent Veteran Suicide and address the needs of our veterans and their families whether it's joblessness, homelessness, or having food on the table. They engage, educate, and enlighten the public and the service members on PTSD and disabilities as well as advocating for veterans rights while breaking the stigma and discrimination towards veterans.

Through his own experiences he was able to create a toolkit. Today, he refers people to HACAP regularly so families and veterans can get back on their feet. Oftentimes, navigating the new normal can be difficult but through the support of his organization and HACAP they have helped countless veterans start again. Some of the most immediate needs veterans experience are paying their rent, utilities and simply putting food on the table. Derek has seen firsthand how HACAP has been able to fill these needs and views HACAP as a connector for all veterans. Even if a veteran does not meet the criteria for a specific program, he has witnessed how HACAP has been able to make the connection and find a way to offer support, especially in their close knit community they know and have experienced that there is always someone to help fill that gap. 

His words of wisdom for any veteran “ It doesn't matter how horrible your struggling or how bad your position is, there is no risk in ever asking for help” 

Thank you Derek for your continued service. We honor you today and always. 

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