This Veterans Day, we are sharing the story of a Veteran helped by our Home At Last program. Peter is a 90-year-old Korean War Veteran. He became homeless earlier this year when he was forced to move from the New Mexico apartment he’d lived in for 17 years.
Peter Isn’t What You’d Picture
Peter isn’t what you’d picture a homeless person to be. He served in the Navy from 1951 until the end of the Korean War in 1953. After the war, he got a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University where he played tennis. After graduation, he enlisted again, this time in the Army. When his mother suffered a stroke that same year, he received an honorable discharge to become her full-time caregiver. Peter took care of his mother until she passed away.
Peter went on to earn a master’s degree from Adams State University where he coached tennis. After graduating, Peter began a long career teaching at a K-12 Navajo Reservation school in New Mexico. He remembers his students as eager to learn and incredibly gifted in learning languages. Peter lights up when he talks about his students.
Homeless at 90 Years Old
Now at age 90, Peter has lived a long, accomplished life. Though never married, he has nieces and nephews across the country. When he had to leave his apartment in New Mexico earlier this year, he drove across the country to be closer to family. Peter was in Kansas when his car broke down. Strangers helped Peter get to Springfield, the closest place he had living family members. With just the clothes on his back, Peter arrived in Springfield to find his family could not help him. He sheltered at Victory Mission until The Kitchen’s Home At Last program helped him find an affordable apartment.
Peter now lives at Beacon Village, one of The Kitchen’s affordable housing developments. With affordable rent, Peter’s fixed income can cover his expenses. His case manager, John, helped stock Peter’s new apartment with furniture and other essentials. John also helped Peter connect with VA medical service and set up his social security payments. John continues to visit Peter and drive Peter to medical appointments.
“John took care of everything. I’m indebted to John and Home at Last. I would have had a very rough time trying to do the things he did for me,” says Peter.
Finding Community Support
Peter also has help from Kylee, the onsite case manager at Beacon Village. Kylee connects residents to community services and plans events for residents. Kylee and Peter play chess regularly at Beacon’s community center.
Peter has found community through his church as well. He attends daily mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
“The people at the church have been unbelievably good to me. A lot of people have helped me in this city. It’s one of the best places I’ve ever lived. I really like Springfield,” says Peter.
Helping Veterans Find Their Home at Last
It’s not hard to imagine what might have happened to Peter without the kindness of strangers and the support from Home At Last. It’s hard being homeless—it’s even harder for seniors experiencing homelessness for the first time.
We are honored to be able to serve Peter, a Veteran who has faithfully served his country and community his whole life. Peter deserves a place to call home, and Home At Last made that possible. You can support other Veterans in need by giving to The Kitchen.