Randall is a Vietnam veteran; he and his bride Debra were found sitting at a desk at a local storage company on Friday after the tornadoes. Both seemed to be a bit shaken and were attempting to collect their thoughts as they put what little they had salvaged from the tornado that destroyed their apartment in storage. Valerie was there helping another family when she noticed Randall’s ball cap that read “Vietnam Veteran.” Valerie approached and asked if there was anything they could use as they recover from the tornadoes. Debra asked for only a few things, shower body wash, a comb, bath towel and washcloth, dental care and hair lotion. Valerie asking if there was anything else, Randall teared up and said he was embarrassed to contact the local VA because he had lost his hearing aids, blood pressure machine and bathroom scale in all the devastation. He also stated that no one had ever offered to help him before and this was a bit overwhelming. Valerie gathered a bit of information and reassured Randall and Debra she would return later that evening with the few items requested and the medical equipment issues addressed.
Valerie went to the local VA medical center and met with the nurse on Randall’s care team, who immediately assisted in obtaining a new blood pressure machine, set up an appointment for new hearing aids and a new scale for the following Monday. Later that Friday night, Valerie met Randall and Debra in front of their daughters’ home, to deliver the items requested and to give them a referral to the American Red Cross in order to obtain housing and clothing assistance. Randall began to cry again and once again he was reassured, he is valuable.
A couple of days later Valerie followed up to ensure they had made connection to the American Red Cross and were on their way to finding a new home. They were staying in a hotel for the night and hoped American Red Cross could get them placed the next day.
Later that evening Valerie saw a post on Facebook asking where funds a couple of little girls had raised at a lemonade stand could be put to good use, Valerie responded suggesting gas cards or helping someone with a hotel stay like the Vietnam veteran she was helping. That post led to the little girl’s fundraiser assisting Randall and Debra for a few more days so that they could find an apartment.
Beyond this series of events, a few more needs were exposed and Valerie continued with the help of her friends Bill, Tamara and Kayleen, as well as pastors and leaders at the Hopeland Church in north Dayton, and the family of the little girls who raised money.
Through networking, our team was able to assist Randall and Debra back on their feet and today they are thriving in a new apartment where they are now the custodians for their granddaughter.