VFW delivers gift cards to Shoreline Veterans Center

Sunday, December 22, 2019

L-R: Jenny Marquette (Compass Community Resources Manager), Carl Christophersen (Post Commander VFW), Shree Vigil (Compass Program Manager)

By Carl "Chris" Christophersen

Two members of Blackburn Aurora VFW Post 3348 visited the Compass Veterans Center in Shoreline (on N 205th across the street from Costco) on December 19, 2019 to deliver a bundle of $50 Fred Meyer gift cards - one for each of the 25 veterans who live there year-round.

The gift cards were purchased with money raised from the Buddy Poppy donations. (See previous article)

Shree Vigil works there every day. She accepted the gift cards, commenting that 4-5 of her residents had told her that they were waiting for us to show up. We chatted for a while.

When asked what the veterans who lived there used the gift cards for, she commented that "besides the common socks and underwear, you may be surprised."

33% of her veterans have jobs but do not make enough to live on their own. 

Shree told us of a veteran who had an interview but did not have a tie --- he could now buy one. 

She told us of a veteran who had just gotten back on his feet and was trying to reconnect to his kids who lived out of state with their mother. He had not had enough money to buy anything for them --- he now had enough to buy them something. Shree said that he was so proud.

Shree mentioned how proud she was of a framed picture that one female veteran, who had improved her lot enough to be able to move out of Compass into a place of her own, had given to Shree. The picture was covered by glass, but it was broken i.e. had a crack.
When asked if she was going to repair it, Shree said “no but let me tell you about that.” That lady veteran had a hard time when she first arrived. 
When she gave this framed picture to Shree, she told Shree that she was broken when she moved into Compass, and that Shree helped her so much to regain faith in herself, that she thought it appropriate to give it to Shree. Shree had to pause a moment, wiping a tear from her eye.

One of the important aspects of the Compass Veterans Center in Shoreline is that each of the 25 veterans (21 men and 4 women) have their own rooms that have a lock on the door i.e. their belongings do not get stolen. 

There are separate sections --- one for men and one for women. No children or married couples live there. Each room has a bed, dresser, closet, desk, chair, internet connection and a mini refrigerator. 

They are not allowed to cook or heat any food in their room but there is a large kitchen available on the first floor with a large stove and food storage. There is a large TV lounge with a large HDTV. There is a computer training room for them to improve their skills.

It was an enlightening visit.


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