“This We’ll Defend” is the motto of the United States Army. Lorenzo Campbell joined the Army in 1979 to defend the two most meaningful things in his life: his country and his family.
The Veteran did not anticipate that nearly four decades later, his military service would continue to enable him to protect his family.
I asked for help and I received
Campbell first visited the VA Northern California Health Care System for medical care, including surgery and assistance managing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “I asked for help, and I received,” he said.
Hopes his story resonates with other Veterans facing similar challenges
Years later, Campbell was visiting VA for medical care when he was experiencing another threat to his health: homelessness. His VA social worker wasted no time connecting him with the programs and resources available through VA homeless programs.
Campbell had doubts about his ability to follow through with the application process to secure housing. His self-confidence was low and the challenges his PTSD posed were high. Yet, the Veteran was motivated to act for the same reason he joined the Army – to help his family.
A father’s fortitude
Finding a place to live was more than just finding shelter for Campbell. Securing safe and stable housing would provide the opportunity to regain custody of his children. Campbell felt strongly about being able to do so, saying, “I found myself looking in my son’s eyes and finding the needs he had for me to step up and be a parent.”
With his children as motivators, Campbell began working with caseworkers from VA and Nation’s Finest, a California-based non-profit dedicated to helping Veterans supported by VA’s Grant and Per Diem program. When Campbell shared his goal to reunite with his children, his caseworkers agreed that a house would serve the needs of Campbell and his family better than any apartment could.
If I did it, anyone can do it
Last November, Campbell used his VA Home Loan benefit and became a first-time homeowner.
Campbell acquired more space and a beautiful backyard with the move but his favorite benefit is his roommate — his 13-year-old son. “I only dreamed of this,” Campbell exclaimed, while sitting in his new home. He worked hard to achieve this milestone, and he credits his son with helping around the house and his caseworkers for his new perspective on life.
“I’m not just settling. I can see myself making my own way now. I’m a productive citizen,” he said. “I try to be a good role model for my kid.”
Campbell also hopes his story resonates with other Veterans facing similar challenges. “I tell a lot of the Veterans I come across that if I did it, anyone can do it.”
And he’s right. VA’s programs and new strategic goals will ensure every Veteran can have a safe place to call home in the country they served. This, we’ll defend.
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