Helping vets
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- Four military spouses from the Presidio of Monterey find higher purpose by assisting veterans who have fallen on hard times to help them land on their feet.

The four women work at the Veterans Transition Center in Marina where they provide a range of services from job placement to helping homeless veterans find housing. While each of these women have specific job titles, they all wear many hats to ensure the veterans receive the support and resources they need.

"Everything I do here is helping a veteran who is at a low point in his life, and we're just giving him a helping hand," said Tiffanie Newcomer, legal coordinator at the VTC.

An Air Force veteran and Defense Language Institute graduate, married to Maj. Daniel Newcomer, 517th Training Group, guides veterans through the Veterans Treatment Court program, providing them with legal resources.

Heather O'Brien, whose husband is Staff Sgt. Matthew Woodworth, 229th Military Intelligence Battalion, is the VTC's Volunteer Program Coordinator. She said volunteers play an important role at the VTC and are essential to veterans' recovery and success.

"I love the fact that when the veterans come in to our programs you see the relief on their faces -- finally a place to lay my head," said O'Brien. "Being able to help them from whatever situation that led them to our organization, to seeing them grow and get their feet back on the ground, and acclimate back into society is so rewarding."

While the VTC's priority is assisting homeless veterans, it also provides assistance to active-duty service members and their families, said Maria Mola, the Organizational Development Director. She is married to Staff Sgt. Christopher Mola, 229th Military Intelligence Battalion.

"All veterans, regardless if they are homeless or not, can come in and use the food pantry or get support from any of the programs we run," she said. "We are working really hard to establish VTC as a place for active duty, reserve, and guard service members to get support to alleviate some of the expense of living here."

Michelle Fox is a case manager and life skills coordinator. She helps homeless veterans find temporary and permanent housing. The wife of Staff Sgt. Kyle Wilson, 229th Military Intelligence Battalion, said the ultimate goal is to have them move into permanent housing.

"You see a veteran come in off the street that is just grateful to have a roof over his head for the night," Fox said. "I had someone move in today that was talking about how it was raining and cold last night -- tonight he has somewhere to stay, a bed to sleep in, a roof over his head, and somewhere to take a shower and wash his clothes."

The VTC in Marina provides a supportive environment for homeless veterans to heal and work toward self-sufficiency. They employ 20 individuals who provide a range of services from counseling to housing homeless veterans.

For volunteer opportunities at the VTC, call 831 883-8024.

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