Helping our Veterans … sometimes it takes a village

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Throughout North Idaho and Eastern Washington there are lots of generous and giving Veteran Support groups and organization that try to help today’s Veterans help themselves to a better, healthier life.

Recently, Dean DeVitto of Post Falls, found out how a little help for a lot of Veteran groups in two states could help him get a new start on life.

Gordon Graves, a Veteran Service Officer who specializes in job development and placement, located at the Mann-Grandstaff VAMC, was trying to help Dean find a job so he can get a new start in life.

After a series of layoffs in California, Dean moved to Spokane and has been homeless, living in a storage unit and riding a bike as his only means of transportation.

Gordon sent Dean to see Robert Shoeman, a Veterans Representative for the Idaho State Department of Labor.

Robert, working with Rod Buck from his office, arranged for Dean to interview with River City Fabrication. He was hired through an on-the-job training program sponsored by Idaho Department of Labor.

Because he now had a job and a couple of strong backers they sent Dean down to the Support Services for Veteran Families SSVF, and they went about trying to find him an apartment. As Dean started work and only had a bicycle to get to work, it came to the attention of Theresa Hart of Newby-ginnings of North Idaho. Newby-ginnings provides household goods and home essentials for free to Veterans and they were preparing to help Dean furnish his new place when it came available.

Shevelle Sleeman was a patron of Newby-ginnings and thought about donating her late husband Breeze’s car to Newby-ginnings. When Theresa and Shevelle heard about Dean DeVitto’s situation, they made arrangements to donate the 1997 Isuzu Rodeo to Dean so he would have transportation to work.

The Combat Veteran Riders, another local veterans service group, heard the story and they stepped up to pay the registration and windshield repair so he could get it on the road sooner.

The awesome story of cooperation and generosity continues as Goodwill’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) found Dean an apartment and he got the keys to his car last week and the keys to his new home on Friday. Dean will be visiting Newby-ginnings and stocking up his new place next week.

“There’s a lot of players involved in this one story,” said Robert Shoeman. “If there is one missing piece, it probably doesn’t work. Dean followed through on everything we’ve asked him to. He’s humble and has a strong work ethic.”

Hart commented, “Dean is the epitome of the veteran we try to help. He’s trying to get on his feet with good intentions.”

Shevelle Sleeman thought her husband would look down and say, “yes that is what needed to happen.”

Quite a story and a testament to the theory that it sometimes takes a whole village to help.

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