Catholic Charities Veteran Services helps veterans and their families who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness find stable housing and provides ongoing case management that includes financial planning, assistance applying for VA benefits, emergency assistance and more.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Marine Veteran Finds Stability

Written by
Russell Herring Russell Herring

Russell Herring, a Marine veteran and former business owner had fallen on hard times. He moved to Phoenix for a job but it didn’t provide the steady income he needed, and he found himself in a desperate situation. Russell moved north hoping for more opportunities, but ended up homeless. Thankfully, he met Vinnie Scarponi with Catholic Charities Veterans Services.

Read Russell’s story in his own words:

I came to Sedona from Phoenix back in early January just about completely broke. Thanks to Vinnie Scarponi with Catholic Charities, I’m back on my feet again.

I am a former business owner of a small cleaning business back in Colorado for over 20 years. After serving in Desert Shield/Storm in the U.S. Marine Corps and 4 years of peace time, I received an honorable discharge.

After my discharge in 1991, I moved to Colorado Springs and was married shortly after. After 5 years of marriage with a newborn son, unfortunately, we were divorced. I spent roughly 3 years with a fiancé afterwards who was later killed in 1998 with a year old son from her as well.

Needless to say, I was faced with some very difficult times through this stretch of my life. Due to years of depression and alcohol use, things slowly began to dismantle. My joint health was deteriorating, and I had a couple of surgeries so it was difficult to continue with my business as well as the financial strain I was under. I felt it was time for a new chapter.

My two sons that I supported and helped raise over the years were now grown up and out on their own. Now was the time to make a move.

Within a two-year period, I was in and out of state with family and in search of work less physically demanding due to age and wear and tear from repletion of work and lifestyle. I finally thought I had a break with an opportunity with a sales position in Phoenix in October of 2017. The job started out okay, but during a tough stretch around the holidays and a commission-only pay structure, funds ran dry rather abruptly, and I had invested almost everting I had to relocate to Phoenix.

With no pay on the next pay period, I had to make a decision fast. I felt compelled to go to the Sedona area and I started looking for work and talking to people and was lead to Vinnie with Catholic Charities in Cottonwood.

I had been camping for a couple of nights, as I basically was homeless, and right away Vinnie assisted me getting help to be sheltered in a local motel in Cottonwood. He also helped me with a good plan finding work and a place to live along with rental assistance. I was in a real bind and am so grateful to have had the help that I desperately needed at the time. Since then, I have found a good job with a recent raise and a comfortable place to live. Things have been looking up!

Thank you Vinnie and Catholic Charities.

Russ Herring

Catholic Charities needs your support to get veterans off the streets and onto the road to stability. Learn more about Catholic Charities Veterans Services or support our work today!


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