Perhaps it is my kindly and feathery bosom.
Perhaps it is my quick smile and hearty honk.
Perhaps it is true that Mother Goose is a magnet to homeless folk.
Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that Mother Goose is becoming quickly and intensely involved in the rescue and welfare of those people who need basic needs such as food and shelter, transportation and employment. This comes as somewhat of a surprise to this old goose who has always had more than her share of children to care for and not enough time in the day to complete her ever-expanding “to do” list.
One of my many part-time jobs is to help our veteran service members in the community to find jobs, counseling, stable housing, donated dental care, fitness programs, yoga classes, meals, VA benefits — whatever they need to help with reintegration. Often I find myself helping them to get through today and into tomorrow in one piece. Easter Seals actually has a rapidly growing program directed specifically at our veterans and military families, and I am most grateful to be able to play a small part in these great programs.
I am currently working with two veterans who are in the homeless category.
Tonight I will begin to tell you about David, a Marine veteran who served in the late seventies/early eighties.
He speaks quietly, politely and with a great reverence for God. He studies his well-worn Bible in all of his spare minutes — I gave him a rubber band to hold it together better. He is a minister of Biblical truth, but I’ve never heard him raise his voice to a preaching decibel.
David originally came to our veteran program at Easter Seals for two reasons: to upgrade his military discharge status and to obtain help in drafting a resume. We welcomed him! Believe it or not, it is VERY difficult to find veterans who will admit that they need help with anything. It is not part of the military culture to ask for assistance from anyone except perhaps a brother in arms.
Most veterans have a form from the Veteran’s Administration called the DD214. It describes the circumstances of the service member’s exit from active duty. Most have an Honorable Discharge status. Unfortunately, some have a Dishonorable Discharge. There are many other types of categories for veterans, but I had never heard of David’s status before: The Good of the Service Discharge. I tell you, Mother Goose learns something new about military life every single day!
David enlisted in the Marines and left for boot camp. He graduated from this basic training and proceeded to move on to his next assignment where he would learn a “trade” within the ranks of the Marine Corps — it could be anything from infantry to engineering to truck repair or navigation. There are as many specialties within the Corps as there are in civilian life.
For reasons I don’t quite understand but having something to do with a woman in his life, David went AWOL from the Marine Corps. He disappeared for awhile, and then he turned himself in and apologized for leaving without leave. They were glad he came back — apparently they were actually quite forgiving and asked if he’d like to stay in active service. He made the decision that he didn’t want to be in the service anymore, and so they went through a process of mutually agreeing that it would be better for everyone if they just cancelled his contract and send him away. For the good of the service…
Have you ever heard of this before?
I know you’ll want to return to hear more about Brother David and how this former Marine became a homeless warrior for God. As usual, Mother Goose has got some really great stories to tell you…