“ I wanted to sATEA 3 F 15.jpg2ee the world,” said Thomas, a former jet mechanic when asked why he joined the Air Force. His travels started with school in Illinois and then he was stationed at Travis Air Force base in California.  He honed his skills working on 141 and C5 planes.

He was stationed in Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan. While stationed there he was able to fulfill his dream of seeing the world by travelling to Australia, New Zealand, Korea and the Philippines.

Leaving the Air Force also meant he gave up his career as a jet mechanic. He began a long career in the construction industry when tough times hit.  Facing eviction, his brother, a fellow veteran encouraged him to reach out to Victoria Spitler, case manager for the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) in Schuylkill County.  His brother, William, had worked with her when he was experiencing homelessness.

“She helped me get back on my feet,” he noted and now advocates for the program.  “Do it, ask for help. It’s what you need to do,” he advises other veterans.  Through the program, Thomas was able to get connected to the VA healthcare services to address his health concerns. Victoria was instrumental in making that happen.

Intensive case management means that clients are never alone in the process. “Victoria called every week.  She cared about me,” he added.  It’s that care and compassion that makes a difference.  By providing on-going support, Thomas is taking steps in the right direction for permanent and last change.

Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) at Opportunity House provides rental assistance for veterans who are facing eviction or who are literally homeless.