There were several special and humble people that volunteered here in our community this month; each with this overwhelming sense to give back and with a deep sense of empathy. One group being the Veterans Services of the Carolinas (VSC). VSC serves our veterans and their families, around North Carolina, by providing resources, connection, and support. These include employment, job training, food, outreach for those with mental illness (called HOPE program).
We were able to meet Ricky Johnson, Peer Support Specialist/Outreach Coordinator, David Pavlosky, Eastern Regional Coordinator, and David Martinez, HOPE Peer Support Specialist. All three men have also served our country honorably. The morning they were here they helped serve breakfast and talked to several of our family members, making connections—especially those who are veterans. We were so grateful to receive their outreach, which is completely natural to them. “The mission we are dedicated to living out is taking a pastoral approach. We strive to meet the population in which we are serving with compassion and empathy,” Ricky explains to us.
The men learned about us through VSC and this was their first time volunteering here “Our experience was gratifying. Considering our circumstances due to COVID-19, morale among the staff and families in need was positive,” Ricky shares. And since that first day, they have continued to support us and David Martinez comes weekly to help out. Ricky adds, “I don’t necessarily see it as we chose you. We follow where God leads us. We are called to serve and you blessed us with the opportunity.” It was a blessing to have met and be together, but even more so, a blessing for our family members to be with caring people that understand.
Ricky knows those circumstances well, as he also has lived through many burdens, struggles, and addictions in his life. Coming out on the other side, he sees every day now as a blessing. “I’m blessed with an opportunity to give back the gift that given to me, it’s hope. I can relate to many of the individuals that I’ve encountered while…volunteering. I understand the feeling of being helpless and hopeless. We care to leave a lasting and positive impact by creating relationships.”
Thank you, teammates of Veteran Services of the Carolinas, for your time, service, kindness, and spirit of hope!