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Veterans Restoration Quarters Stories

Dry Creek Baptist Church

Just before Thanksgiving, Dry Creek Baptist Church reached out to the Veterans’ Restoration Quarters. Pastor Coy Adams and his wife Brandi were specifically interested in finding out more about how the VRQ provides for Veterans in need, and how Dry Creek Baptist could partner with ABCCM to make a difference.

After meeting with the Dry Creek Baptist Church congregation in late November, they began to volunteer with the Veterans’ Restoration Quarters and have volunteered six times in the last 6 weeks! In addition to supporting the VRQ with several different cook teams, Dry Creek Baptist has brought volunteer teams to deep clean the Costello House which is ABCCM’s Code Purple emergency Shelter for men. They also delivered large donations of new clothing, blankets, and sweat-suits.

Most recently, the church has volunteered to increase their volunteer commitment by supporting future VRQ site renovations. They are also branching out to volunteer in other areas of the ABCCM ministry.

The Veterans’ Restoration Quarters has truly been blessed to welcome the Dry Creek Baptist Church volunteer group. We are grateful for their kind, and giving spirit and we look forward to our continued partnership of supporting so many who are in need!

Michelle Laws, Volunteer Coordinator

The Knights of Columbus’ Fourth of July Steak luncheon is a VRQ tradition as American as apple pie! For the Knights of Columbus the 4th of July Celebration is about gratitude and service. According to Mike Nelson “It’s a way to thank the Vets for all they’ve done for us. Most of our families are loaded with Veterans.” As Mark Pfeil added, “They’ve sacrificed for us and we are glad to do this for them.” While the world slowly transitions back to normalcy we remain grateful for our volunteers who preserve and celebrate the traditions of gratitude and service towards the Veterans at the VRQ.

Among our newest cook teams this year, Tz BBQ has brought a smoker full of pulled pork and joy to the Veterans down at the VRQ. Driven by the urgent needs of the pandemic, Tz BBQ is a community-driven project that combines the comfort of barbeque with the joy of taking care of people through food and nourishment. According to Ben Tzinberg, “At the heart of it, it’s being in a place to help during such a hard time as the pandemic.” For Ben, serving the folks at the VRQ was a joyful experience. “There is so much joy that comes out of it. Especially with barbeque. People see you out by the smoker and it brings up conversations and memories and joy.” Ben and his smoker are planning on returning in the coming months to serve more meals and joy to our community. We appreciate the joyful and créativité spirit that Ben and all our volunteers bring to our community.

Danny Szemple
Volunteer Coordinator

Charles served his country proudly in the United States Army. After his service, Charles was involved in an accident that severed 2 of the main nerves in his back. As a result of this accident, he suffered paralysis from the waist down. Charles eventually moved in with his mother in South Carolina. When she suddenly passed away, he found himself in a situation of homelessness. Charles “couched surfed” for a while. He was staying in a hotel with inadequate accommodations for him and his wheelchair. We made outreach to him and brought him to the VRQ as a resident. Charles was placed in one of the rooms that contained a handicap shower furnished by the Christopher Reeves Foundation grant. He is able to maneuver his wheelchair successfully to take full advantage of the shower facility. Charles said “God has blessed me by bringing me here and giving me a great place to stay with the things I need. The shower in my room is wonderful and works for me great. It is something I haven’t had in a long time.”

Since coming here Charles has received housing intervention and has moved into a place of his own. Charles said “Hopefully my new place will have a great shower like my room now does!” The best news is that Charles has started to regain more feeling in his legs and is working with the Charles George VA Medical Center to have some braces made so he can start therapy to walk again. “I know it will be hard work but I know I can do it. God has been so good to me!”

While this year has been a strange year, holiday festivities at the VRQ helped make Christmas feel just a little more normal for our Vets. Our socially distant Christmas celebration included a 12 foot tall Christmas tree, bellies full ham and mac n ‘ cheese, a table of full desserts, rockin’ around the Christmas tree with our music therapy instructor. Then of course, the presents – coats provided by the wonderful Blue Ridge Honor Flight then hand delivered door to door by our VRQ staff.

To all who gave socks and scarves, cards and coats, hats and hopes we want to say thank you, thank you, and thank you for caring for our community this year and every year. One of our Veterans said “This is the best Christmas I have ever had!” Your care changes lives every day. Please continue to pray for our community and our Veterans as we go forth together into this new year as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Tim McElyea,Director