Real Estate for Veterans | Flash back to remember the victories that motivate us to the future! Joshua Macias checking in and sharing the front page announcement on Veterans Day last year. Excited about another year to Serve our Veteran Community!
© November 12, 2014
The two men arrived in a black car, stepping out into the driveway of a row of brick townhouses. They were headed for the one with the flagpole, where the Stars and Stripes waved in the breeze.
Instead of walking in the unlocked front door, the pair, both wearing sport coats and dress shirts, waited sheepishly outside. After years of having nothing but hard times, the new home almost didn’t seem real, and they kept waiting for something to get in the way. Frank Tolbert, who also wore a dress hat, shuffled his feet. Sandy Williams Jr. used an incoming call on his cellphone as an opportunity to pace nearby.
If all went as planned, the two veterans would share the home within a few weeks – the last step on a journey that included years of homelessness and time in shelters and transitional housing. They’ve lost their way and found it again, and the home represented a fresh start. This ribbon-cutting on Veterans Day made it official.
The home would stand for something else, too, though the pair didn’t know it yet.
More cars pulled up, and out spilled caseworkers, contractors and members of four organizations who helped rehab the house for the men. Then Justina Glover arrived, with her two granddaughters and her sister.
“Would you like to take a tour?” one of the builders asked her.
She walked into a room with freshly plastered walls. She gazed at the fireplace, then up at the skylight.
“This home is for Jamel?” she asked.
Earlier this year, her son, Navy veteran Jamel Glover, committed suicide. The home was dedicated to him and featured a plaque commemorating his struggle.
Previous: Suicide note criticizes Veterans Affairs
Justina Glover walked through to the kitchen, with sparkling new countertops, appliances and dark-stained floor.
“Wow,” she said.
Williams made his way inside and warily eyed the growing crowd of guests.
“We better be careful, or they’ll try to take it from us,” he said.
But when he found out about Glover and her son, his eyes grew wide:
“Wow, I didn’t know that.”
The 75-year-old served in the Air Force from 1956 until 1962. He didn’t get married until decades later, when he was 54. He and his wife moved to Virginia Beach and had a son. Then he “caught a bad break.” He got involved with drugs, which led to his marriage splitting up. He became homeless and got in trouble with the law. He hasn’t seen his son in 20 years.
Williams thought his life was over, but hope arrived. He found help from the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center and got a spot in their veterans supportive housing. He is grateful for this home, as is Tolbert, a Navy veteran. They know it’s a big part of what’s keeping them from the streets.
They picked out their bedrooms on previous visits – Williams will get the one in the back. He needs a bigger closet because he has a lot of clothes, he said. Plus, Tolbert works as a chef, so he won’t wake Williams if he comes and goes at odd hours.
The roommates are growing closer.
“I’m learning more about him; he’s learning more about me,” Williams said.
And he’s excited that his son might visit from North Carolina. He was the one Williams was talking to on his cellphone outside.
The group gathered around the flagpole. More of Glover’s family and friends had arrived, and people spilled into the neighbor’s driveway.
Organizers unveiled Jamel Glover’s plaque, with words from the letter to Veterans Affairs he had in his pocket when he died. The last line read, “I refuse to live the rest of my life an addict and homeless.”
Though the flag was already flying, organizers pulled it down and raised it again. Some faintly sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Then they handed Williams and Tolbert their keys. Cellphone camera shutters clicked away.
Glover wiped her eyes. Williams started putting his key on his key chain.
||November 12, 2014
||Two homeless veterans find a new home
||Virginia Beach, VA
Ending veteran homelessness one at a time!