Catholic Charities is committed to helping individuals and families experiencing homelessness find affordable, stable housing. Our team helps veterans and their families, people with severe mental illness and others who need shelter. We have multiple programs to help homeless persons throughout Northern Arizona.

Monday, 13 May 2024

A Community Comes Together to Support a Veteran and His Best Friend

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When case manager Sheena Campos met Army veteran Kenny Marsh, he was experiencing homelessness with his service dog, an American Bully named Wraith.

In August 2022, Kenny was enrolled in Catholic Charities’ Veterans Services program. Veterans Services helps veterans and their families who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness find permanent housing and provides ongoing case management.

Because Wraith wasn’t up to date on shots, he and Kenny were unable to stay at shelters. Kenny refused to give up his best friend and instead slept at a park.

Experiencing Barriers on the Path to Stability

In September 2022, Sheena helped Kenny find housing in Kingman, Ariz. Kenny and Wraith were housed for over a year until the owner decided not to renew Kenny’s lease without reason.

Luckily, Sheena was able to help Kenny get an apartment in Bullhead City within two weeks. But he became extremely ill after moving in.

A Case Manager’s Kindness Changes Everything

Kenny called an ambulance and was transported to the hospital. He discovered he needed emergency surgery that had to be performed in Flagstaff, almost four hours away. After hearing this, Kenny left the hospital against medical advice to be with Wraith.

When Kenny called Sheena soon after, he informed her he had refused the surgery because he didn’t have anyone to look after Wraith. Sheena told him she would make sure Wraith was taken care of while he was gone.

“It is without a doubt that Kenny would have and will literally lay his life down for Wraith, the same way he signed up to lay his life down for his country,” said Sheena.

Working Together to Help a Veteran

At this time, Sheena was getting messages from the property management, who had heard Kenny groaning in pain. When Sheena explained the situation, they immediately wanted to help.

The property management agreed to take turns with Catholic Charities staff in taking care of Wraith. When Sheena let Kenny know the good news, he was extremely thankful and agreed to get the surgery.

However, Wraith hadn’t been apart from Kenny since he was a puppy. The only person he would approach during the first few days was Chris Kinkade, an outreach worker with Catholic Charities.

A Community Takes Action

After a few days, the neighbors noticed that Wraith was in distress. He had been crying and staring out the window. Instead of responding negatively, they decided to help.

They posted on a local Facebook page asking the community to help get Wraith food, toys and treats. Before long, the community came together to ensure Wraith had everything he needed. Wraith quickly warmed up to the neighbors, and they got him a large kennel so he could sleep in their apartment at night.

Kenny has since been reunited with Wraith and is grateful for those who walked alongside him. “He has been blown away by the amount of love and support shown to him and especially Wraith,” said Sheena.

If you’re interested in supporting veterans like Kenny, consider donating online or through our Amazon Charity List.

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Bethany Durham

Bethany Durham has a bachelor’s degree in Communication and a passion for storytelling. Her writing for Catholic Charities has included blogs, newspaper and magazine articles. She enjoys telling client stories in a way that captures the humanity and emotions of those she writes about. When she’s not working, Bethany loves to spend time with her two cats, hike and sing karaoke.

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