Mother Goose: A Homelessness Magnet

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.

homelessveterans

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…

Mother Goose Speaks Out

I’m just a goose! How do I find myself in these amazing places with such wonderful people? I’m baffled and honking about it!

M.Goose addressing Marine families at the Park Ridge VFW Post.

Once upon a time, Mother Goose was a regular mother with just the barest notion that our nation was at war. Whilst soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen fought valiantly in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mother Goose turned her beak in the other direction. In fact, she buried her head in the sand. You may have called her Lady Ostrich in those days.

And then the impossible happened — my twin sons enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and my ostrich life came to a screeching halt. Even though they are still stateside, training for a highly technical and difficult position onboard nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers, to this goose, military family life has already begun. Of course, when they eventually get deployed and head out to sea to see the world, Mother Goose will probably have a nervous breakdown. Maybe a double, twin-sized nervous breakdown…

Last evening, Mother Goose and her ever-supportive gander attended a wonderful meeting of Marine families in a nearby suburb of Chicago. Let me just tell you right now, these are some of the bravest, kindest and most gracious moms and dads that I have ever met.

As the sharing time progressed around the room, several parents reported that their sons had returned from active duty around the world, including combat action in Afghanistan. Two families had just experienced the gut-wrenching days of knowing their sons were now “boots on the ground” in the hot war zones of Helmand Province. Some were active and stationed at Camp Pendleton in California. There was a new “poolie” present with his family — just freshly enlisted and in preparation mode for boot camp next summer. All stages of U.S. Marine life were shared — hugs and tears and common wisdom were served up as easily as the delicious potluck dinner.

I was there at the meeting because I wanted to speak to the group about Blue Star Banners, an American tradition dating back to WWI. Military families are encouraged to hang the banners in their front windows to inform the neighborhood and the community that one of their sons or daughters is serving in a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces during a time of war or hostility. Each star on the banner represents one soldier or sailor — of course, Mother Goose is proud to fly a banner with two blue stars.

We left the meeting humbled by the patriotic hearts, the faith and the love of these U.S. Marine Corps families. We will return to their next get-together to present Blue Star Banners to these amazing moms and dads. Now it’s time for Mother Goose to get to work. Honk! Time to buy more gold fringe at the JoAnn Fabric Store to glue to my banners.

I buy my banners from the American Legion online store. Then Mother Goose attaches the gold fringe to the banners — it makes them look extra special.

P.S. Do you know of a military family in your neighborhood? Please let them know about this wonderful old tradition. Please visit my Facebook page to see pictures of Blue Star Banners in the windows as well as pictures of our many friends’ sons and daughters in the service. Feel free to “like” our page if you are so inclined and share it with your friends. And, of course, please continue to pray for the troops — until they’re all safely back home with their families.

Important Stats for a Goose

  • 77,493 honks to date

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May 2022
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