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Veteran Program Manager Describes Sense of Community in Shelter

As the last week of Veteran season winds down, we are featuring a veteran who is essential to our operation. Daryl Goldsmith has been with HomeAgain fro 15 years and is currently the Program Manager for our Veteran’s Transitional Program. This facility, located on the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center campus, has (because of its number) been nicknamed “507.”

Daryl joined the U.S. Army at age 17 and later joined the U.S. Army Reserve to serve a total of eleven years. He recounts the 32 months he spent stationed in Germany immediately after training; “I was initially depressed. When I arrived it was cold, rainy and just gloomy.” These feelings dissolved over time as he found comfort in having a family member in Stugart and discovered how amazing it was to travel around the country using the rail and bus system.

Although he counts himself lucky for never seeing combat, he is extremely proud of his time served moving and transporting, by air and ground, missiles to various NATO bases.

He admits to“stumbling upon HomeAgain” through his connection with another employee. “I interviewed for, at that time, a part-time case manager [position]. And when I discovered that it was working with veterans, that excited me! I come from a long line of military service men and women in my family,” he said.

When asked what advice he could offer struggling veterans who may be resisting help, Daryl said, “I use to tell the story of an experience very early in my time as case manager at 507… I was reviewing a veteran’s application and the name stood out to me for some reason.”

He went on to explain that during the interview the two men simultaneously recognized one another; “We had served together in a field hospital unit in the 80’s…he was hesitant to accept the placement, but I remembered saying to him ‘Sam come on in…’ and he accepted the opportunity.”

For many former servicemen and servicewomen, even admitting that help is needed can be very difficult. Daryl explained, “I’ve had veterans stand before me so embarrassed by their situation and just cry…so I’ve leaned to listen and then make the case for how they would be [living] with other vets.”

Regardless of the branch or time served, there is a sense of community that radiates throughout the Veteran’s Shelter. It is obvious that each client shares a bond based on their experience serving our nation. They encourage one another and understand certain traumas that outsiders cannot.

Daryl has high hopes for our Veteran’s Transitional Housing Program and the VA Medical Center. He believes steps are being taken to help prevent veteran homelessness in the future. “The VA is doing a lot. With proper attention and follow through, a veteran whose homelessness stems from medical, social, or substance abuse has opportunities today that didn’t exist in 2000,” he said.

This 15-year veteran of HomeAgain cares deeply about the clients and works closely with them to help find employment, assimilate to living outside of the military, reunite with family, and get back on their feet.

Daryl admits to still loving to travel and reading personal development books. He expressed that focus and patience are most important to him when it comes to beating the odds and tackling life’s obstacles.

Current client and U.S. Army veteran, Chris Burkhardt, described Daryl as “quite impressive” and spoke of how motivating he can be. For Daryl, this is just a part of the job, as he explained that the program focuses on “homeless veterans seeking to regain a sense of self, purpose and [to] correct their life direction as significant health and social issues are addressed on their road to the achievement of permanent housing.”

We certainly feel lucky to have such a dedicated member of our team!