Our nation’s veterans proudly served our country,
and Priority Veteran is proud to serve our veterans.
Real Life Veteran Stories from Priority Veteran Clients
At Priority Veteran it is our honor to help veterans navigate complicated systems and link them to the benefits they need and deserve. Here are some real-life stories that Priority Veteran has been a part of:
Emmitt Bryant, US Marines (Birmingham)
Reached Out for Help During Tough Times
Emmitt Bryant turned to Priority Veteran for help when he recently fell on hard times. “I ran into a rough patch in November of last year which I was trying to address but I had too much pride,” recalls Bryant. Working with his Priority Veteran case worker, he focused on developing a budget and planning to stay on course. Watch the story on ABC 33-40.
Floyd Alexander, US Army (Huntsville)
From a Tent City to a One-Bedroom Apartment
While serving in the US Army, Floyd Alexander received the National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon/Sharpshooter Qualification Badge, Hand Grenade/Marksman Qualification Badge and the M-16 Rifle/Air Assault Badge.
However, after serving active duty, times were hard, and he and his spouse were living in a tent city in the Huntsville area. At first reluctant, Floyd began working with United Way’s Priority Veteran who was conducting outreach in the tent city. Soon the couple was able to move into a one bedroom apartment convenient to transportation and a shopping plaza. Now both husband and wife are employed and working closely with Prioirty Veteran on financially stabilizing factors such as budgeting, reducing debt, obtaining timely health services and increasing social and emotional support systems. Floyd is even looking for a second job to supplement the family’s monthly income.
Bobby Dawson, US Army (Tuscaloosa)
No Two Veteran’s Stories are Alike
Bobby Dawson, who served three years in the US Army during the Gulf War, is a wheelchair-bound veteran who weaved in and out of stable housing since his discharge. He was referred to Priority Veteran by the VA while recovering from surgery. His modest trailer was in desperate need of repairs and he had no running water or electricity because he was unable to pay the utility bills.
“With United Way’s Priority Veteran, it’s a blessing that there’s somebody out there who really cares for people who can’t do for themselves in their time of need,” Dawson said.
Priority Veteran assisted him with applying for social security benefits, reconnecting his utilities and arranging for improvements to make his trailer wheelchair accessible. Dawson said. “Without this program, I wouldn’t have survived”. He credits Priority Veteran with helping him, saying “I believe in good and hope again.”
Marilyn Schnepp, Marine Corp, (Birmingham)
Help When All is Lost a Fire
At age 81, Marilyn Schnepp, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the 1950’s, unexpectedly had to abandon her apartment at the Birmingham Trade Towers which burned in the fall of 2015. Suddenly homeless, with none of her belongings, personal identification or documents, she was relieved to meet Orlando Boston, a United Way Priority Veteran case manager who was able to help her overcome many hardships including finding a new place to live in a senior living facility.
Marilyn, still has the strong grit of a former Marine, but she is grateful for the help she received from Priority Veteran. One of the biggest obstacles she faced was lack of identification and personal records which were all lost in the fire. Priority Veteran helped her obtain a replacement driver’s license, a new social security card and navigate verification of benefits to which she was entitled.
Marilyn shed tears of joy when her application for the senior living facility was finally approved. Priority Veteran was able to further assist Ms. Schnepp in settling into her new home by providing a bed, household goods and items to stock her pantry.
Women Veteran Facts:
- 1918 – the first woman joined the U.S. Marine Corps, Pvt. Opha Mae Johnson.
- 1950 – the Marine Women Reserves were mobilized for the Korean War and 2,787 women served proudly.
- 1967 – the 2% restriction on the number of women allowed to serve in the U.S. military was lifted and senior officer ranks were open to women as a result of a modification of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act.
- 2016 – 8% of the veteran population is female and 11% of veterans are over age 80.
Danny was five months behind on his rent when he first began working with Priority Veteran. He said, “Right now I’m at risk of being homeless. I have no food or nothing.” He also couldn’t pay his bills or afford to get his car repaired. When Danny met with his Priority Veteran case worker he had no idea that she could be such a big help. He was able to bring his rent up to date, get help with bills, get food from a food bank and even get his car repaired. Danny says, “For me, Priority Veteran is a Blessing from God.”
Annie Lee, a proud US Navy veteran called on Priority Veteran for help when she needed it. She was glad that Priority Veteran has representatives in Tuskegee. She says, “I appreciate all the help that was given to me.” Whenever she can she recommends Priority Veteran to any veterans that need assistance.
Matt and Amanda, both Army veterans, have 3 children, 2 of which have special needs. They were homeless after Matt lost his job and all 5 family members were living in a Rodeway Inn. Matt learned about Priority Veteran through the VA in Tuscaloosa. Working with their Priority Veteran Case Manager, they received financial counseling and help with credit repair. Now their finances are in order and they are living in a house – and they plan to buy it. Matt says, “Priority Veteran didn’t give up on me or my family. We now have a solid plan to stay on our feet and even come out on top.”
When Robert, who served in Iraq for 48 months, entered the Marine Corps he was married and had a home. Upon his discharge, he was divorced, homeless and living in his broken down car. Embarrassed by his living conditions, he shut everyone out of his life. Once he began working with his Priority Veteran case manager, his life began to improve. Within two weeks, Priority Veteran provided housing and assisted with getting his car repaired. He continues to work with his Priority Veteran Case Manager and happily reports that his relationship with his family has improved and he is socializing more. He credits Priority Veteran with turning his life around.
Andrea, American Veteran (Huntsville) – Turned Her Life Around
The assistance Priority Veteran provided me was unbelievable. I never thought an organization existed that could totally turn my life around. Thank you so much!
James was literally “staying in the woods”. Fortunately James received a housing voucher from HUD, but needed assistance with costly utility and security deposits before he could afford to move into an apartment. With help from Priority Veteran, James got his needs met and is living in a stable home. He is grateful for the help he received from Priority Veteran. James is pictured with Priority Veteran Team Member, Keith Perkins.
Terri, Marine Corps Veteran (Huntsville)
From Homeless to a Safe Home
One night Terri and her children unexpectedly became homeless and had nowhere to turn. Terri credits Priority Veteran for the fact that she and her children have beds to sleep in and place to call home. She says the Priority Veteran team helped stabilize her life, and she thanks God that such a program exists.