Bradley, an Air Force veteran, has been actively involved with the Veterans One-Stop Center (VOC) of Western New York since July 2016. When he first contacted the VOC, Bradley needed assistance with both housing and legal matters. The VOC provided on-site advocacy services to support Bradley and meet his specific needs. Yet even with personalized assistance, he continued to struggle for the next three years.
By the end of 2018, Bradley had been living in a hotel for a year with his two dogs on whom he relied for emotional support during difficult times. Throughout this journey, Bradley’s mental health suffered, due in part, to living in the hotel. He felt worthless, slept much of the day, had no family close by, lost custody of his children, and had not eaten a home-cooked meal in more than a year. Bradley lost all hope and desire to keep moving forward, finding himself in a poor mental state. Because of his past involvement with the VOC, Bradley was aware of the conventional services available to veterans but was unaware of additional programs that might be useful for him at this time in his life. In a final plea for help, Bradley reached out to the Spread Compassion Foundation.
Martha Cipriani, President of the Spread Compassion Foundation, provided Bradley with opportunities he never imagined possible. She contacted the case management team at the VOC, requesting their help to provide quick intervention for Bradley. He was connected with case management professionals who again helped with his specific needs and changed his outlook to one of faith and positivity.
To provide opportunities for socialization and ensure Bradley could meet with his case manager at the VOC on a regular basis, he was given a bus pass. His case manager encouraged Bradley to set goals for his future and focus on the positive aspects of his life that he could control, as opposed to those over which he had no control.
Inspired by how much the community cared and had invested in his wellbeing, Bradley worked with his case manager and the Spread Compassion Foundation to fund a U-Haul that would enable him to move out of the hotel and into a housing unit near his father and other family members in Owego, New York. Bradley moved in February 2019 and has not looked back. His dogs now have a yard in which to play, Bradley can cook and prepare meals in his own kitchen, and the four walls that surround him when he goes to sleep at night are surrounded themselves by the individuals he loves the most. Bradley again has purpose in his life. Without the intervention of community resources, and the advocacy efforts and compassion shown by those at the Veterans One-Stop Center of Western New York, our nation may have lost another veteran to the war, not overseas, but in the mind.