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The Tale of a US Marine: Don and Boss

On 01/22/2020

Don Schneider, Best Friends

Below is a story from Benno DiZoglio, a case manager in Harbor Homes’ Veterans F.I.R.S.T. programming. He helps veterans and their families, like Don and Boss, when they’re struggling with homelessness.

Donald Schneider and his pup, “Boss,” moved into Buckingham Place on a temperate August day, just after a heatwave had passed. I gave him the key to his new apartment, and explained my role as Case Manager.

Though he left active duty in 2011, Don is a Marine, and with his obvious determination and focus, the title still suits him well. Just like his furry friend, Boss, my newest client was energetic and driven, but also loving.

Boss barked like he wanted to eat me–and did put half my arm in his mouth–but then he just wagged his tail happily.  This was a gentle pair that might give off the wrong impression to anyone too afraid to look closely at who a person is on the inside.

Don was brave enough to serve and courageous enough to ask for help when he needed it. We stocked up his cupboards and we signed him up for SNAP so he’d have food every month.

To assist him with finding a new job, I connected him with an HVRP representatives, the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program. Since Harbor Homes had just won an HVRP grant, enrolling him was a breeze. Now, with an updated resume, Don could seek out fresh opportunities.

By the end of September, he had a new job with Zimmermann’s Ski & Board Shop, working in the shop with Boss by his side. His manager, however, went one step further, and paid Don his first check in advance so he could afford the essentials in this time of transition.

Since he served for a full tour of duty, left with an honorable discharge, and met other criteria, Don got himself enrolled in VASH, the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program, which enables certain vets to qualify for exclusive subsidized housing.

Then, just as quickly as Don arrived, this shooting star found an open apartment at the PSL’s newly built Boulder Point Veterans Housing complex, and by the end of October, he completed the move into his new, permanently subsidized home in Plymouth, NH.

Don found a new job at the Waterville Valley Resort, as a ski lift operator, and still has Boss right by his side every day.

 

 

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