My husband and I decided to move our business to a new location. We opened a legal document business a year ago in town. It just didn’t seem to gain much exposure above JJ Purtys, a tavern on main street, and besides; we could hear quite a few private conversations from the bar area up thru the vent, (don’t worry, we keep secrets), and the music, although my time, 60’s and 70’s and some pretty good, old time rock and roll, just wasn’t really making the divorcee, or bankruptcy client too happy.
And so,on this particular June day I was rushing here and there looking at office rentals, as our lease was up soon. After hours of running around Fallbrook looking at office space, I walked into Southwest Veterans’ Business Resource Center quite by accident. Albert Renteria, the founder of the organization and LeRoy Scheller, the office manager greeted me as I walked in the door. I looked around and immediately figured I had walked into the wrong office. Out the door I headed, but before the door closed, I turned and asked, “what do you guys do here anyways”. They explained that they were a resource center for veterans. I told them my husband and I were veterans and I was out looking for office space. I smiled, shut the door and headed to the next office.
After seeing that I didn’t want to rent space next door, I did a double step to my car in anticipation of my favorite drink, a triple latte at Café Primo’s where I would end my day. It definitely was time for a pick me up. I still had to grocery shop and figure out dinner.
I was almost to my car, when I heard my name called, it was Albert. (Surprised he remembered my name). He asked if I had a minute to come back up to the office. Having no idea what was up, I went up and sat down for a minute with him and LeRoy. I was totally shocked and really taken aback when they offered the Resource center as a space for my husband and I to use for our business; we could pay what we could on the utilities, and otherwise, meet clients, etc. What a wonderful offer, I thought. And, these guys don’t even know my husband or I. All they knew was that we were veterans.
I really was very surprised and humbled by the whole experience that afternoon, especially the kindness. Honestly, I’ve never had someone be so genuinely kind and caring for the mere fact that I served my country. (It came down to this – they didn’t even really know who we were.)
What I learned of this organization through a brief conversation with both Albert and LeRoy was this; they care deeply for veterans and that they will absolutely go out of their way to help them get on their feet and find a job as they reintegrate into civilian life. Their goal is to eradicate veteran homelessness. They told me that up to 40 percent of the homeless population are veterans. Is this just an unbelievable statistic? How can this be? The United States is one of the richest countries in the world. How can service members offer up their lives for this great country and then end up on the streets? We must be doing something wrong. If you have answers or ideas of why this is happening, please share. I was really shocked and really rattled by these stats.
After talking a bit more and hearing of the 14 level program they offer, the free career counseling, and stipends paid to those who became learners, I told them I’d love to bring my husband Jonathan in to meet them. I left and really had a lot to think about on my way to the coffee house.
I realized that this organization really had a heart for veterans, a goal to prevent veterans from becoming homeless and from what I could hear the intelligence and drive to make it happen. How exciting is that?? I wondered, was it a mistake I entered this office after all?
As I start my blog today, I challenge you - Please help make a difference in all veterans’ lives by registering here on this site, whether you're a civilian or veteran. All we need to really know is that you’re here and that you care. I really think this is one easy way for you to make a difference in the life of a veteran. Perhaps your words will help keep them motivated to move forward and on with their life, and out of the streets.
Thank you sincerely - from this one little veteran.