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Harry's Journey Back to Independence

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Introduction

Harry served in the United States Army at Fort Sheridan, Illinois from 1971-1974. He was a French Horn Player in the U.S. Army Band. He played the French horn to provide military music during official events, including state arrivals, military funerals, and change of command and promotion ceremonies. The band did public performances in support of military public relations and recruitment activities such as street parades and concerts; and they performed to deployed military personnel.

Harry couldn’t survive on his income from Social Security anymore, so he reached out to Easterseals Oregon about employment. He came to our Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) for help with additional training, help writing a resume, interviewing skills, and job-searching skills. Due to Harry’s medical issues and income limitations, it was determined that he should pursue part-time work with the help of our Employment Specialist, Teresa.

Building A Path to Employment

Harry was living in a home with his ex-wife, but the situation was difficult and taxing for him, making it challenging to focus on finding employment. He was on waiting lists for senior housing, but nothing was panning out for him. This left Harry at risk of homelessness, so Teresa spoke with Harry about the Salvation Army Veterans and Family Center; and when he stated he was interested, she made a referral to the Salvation Army Case Manager. Harry was thankful to be able to move into Salvation Army, providing him the opportunity to turn his full focus to finding employment.

Over the course of about a year, our Veterans employment program was able to help Harry get training as a Peer Specialist; but after multiple interviews that didn't pan out, it seemed that it was time to broaden his search into additional fields for employment opportunities. Some of the barriers Harry faced were a lack of stable housing, and looking for employers that would accommodate for his disability while allowing part-time work. Despite these significant challenges, our team worked with Harry on a targeted resume, practiced interviewing, and provided coaching on how to sell his skills to employers.

The Power of Partnership

During the course of Harry's enrollment in our program, Jennifer Sandberg (one of our wonderful board members) connected our team with Rod Callahan at Precision Fulfillment. Mr. Callahan was very interested in collaborating with us to recruit for their open positions. Through this partnership, we were able to refer Harry for an interview at Precision Fulfillment.

A Win-Win Solution

Harry interviewed with Precision Fulfillment, and he was offered a position right away! He's now working in the assembly and labeling department, where he sorts and labels wood samples, assembles boxes, and prepares the samples for shipment to customers. Harry was hired at $15 an hour, working 20 hours weekly (a necessary accommodation for his disability). Precision Fulfillment was gracious enough to work with Easterseals and agree to hire two Veterans part-time, with them splitting the shift. Harry works 8am - 12pm, and Charles (another one of our Veteran participants) works 12pm - 4pm. You can read Charles’ journey to employment, here.

A Bright, New Outlook

Harry stated, “I am so thankful for everything Teresa has done for me. When COVID hit, I didn’t know where to turn. I applied for lots of jobs but never heard back from them. Teresa kept on me and then was relentless in sending me jobs. I love my job I have now, and I am saving to get my own place in the future.”

Harry is clearly excited about his career with Precision Fulfillment, and he has also expressed that he is thankful to the Easterseals HVRP team for their help and guidance along the way. Throughout his journey with our program, we were also able to refer Harry to the VA Medical Center and permanent housing resources in Washington County.

If you or anyone you know is a US Military Veteran who is homeless or at risk of homelessness, please contact us by clicking here to learn how we can help!

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