Got Your 6 is a non-profit organization designed to help assist female veterans in making the transition back from active duty to civilian life. Many veterans coming home are faced with hardships due to unforeseen circumstances. They need a variety of different services in order to make the transition from military living back to civilian life such as housing, food, clothing, resume writing and interviewing skills, transportation assistance, childcare assistance, and other essential needs.
Although homelessness is not often discussed, many veterans come off active duty to an unstable living environment and find themselves homeless. I experienced this first hand and found myself homeless and sleeping in my car due to a series of unfortunate events.
“Got Your 6” wants to bridge this gap and help female veterans, with or without children, from experiencing what many others have in their transition out. Our goal is to set up and provide essential services, whether the need is for resume writing and job search assistance or providing housing, “Got Your 6” has the resources necessary to ensure all female veterans adapt back into civilian life successfully.
Resume Writing/Interviewing Skills
and Other Essential Needs
Being brave in the face of despair only begins to describe my life. How can a person who served honorably in both the United States Navy and Army become a homeless veteran? Well, my reality became exactly that.
For me, despair began at a young age, growing up in Chicago with parents who could have used the help. I remember my childhood like it was yesterday- waking up every morning in a dark and unstable home environment, going to bed hungry and seeing my parents in a state that no child should have to witness at that age.
I might not have described myself as brave back then, but those years of distress led to me leaving home at the age of 17, adopting self-sufficiency I was not ready for. At that time, I was presented with one of the toughest decisions I have had to make. I had to choose between my family or saving my own life and I chose my life.
When I decided to enlist in the military, my father, who was a Vietnam Veteran, was dead-set against it. Although I was terrified, I knew this was my opportunity to create a new life for myself- a life in which I could wake up and not feel as though I was living a life not meant for me, and be able to see the light to my future.
As I planted my feet on the Navy grounds, an overwhelming feeling came over me and for the first time in my life, I felt a sense of purpose and knew then I was right where I needed to be. This was God’s plan for me. However, while active duty began to feel normal, during that time, both my mother and father died and my husband told me he was looking to get a divorce. Life sure had a way of knocking me down but every time I would pick myself back up. Having gone through military training, I was better equipped to deal with anything that came my way. Military training gave me the strength, discipline, determination, and bravery I needed to keep pushing forward.
Transitioning into civilian life did not come easy. One thing that the military gave me was security and although they train you to go in, I wasn’t prepared to come back out. I lost my initial job after a month and found myself without a stable income for the first time since I joined the military. Unable to find full-time employment and desperate not to fail, I packed up all that I could carry and drove to Jacksonville, Florida to stay with a friend until I could get back on my feet. My stay turned out to be temporary, and before long I was living and surviving in my car.
For three months, living in the solitude of my car, I would find a safe place to park, lock my doors and just pray for daylight. Nights were cold and terrifying, and I eventually lost all bearings. I experienced first-hand how solitude is effective as a torture tactic. Without losing faith, every morning I would get up and continue my job search.
After what seemed like a lifetime, I found out about the another Veterans Resource Organization, and it quickly became my life-line. With their assistance. I began the process of putting the pieces of my life back together. This experience opened my eyes to the overwhelming need for assistance among female veterans returning to civilian life.
Less than a month later, I was offered a full-time position. A rush of joy filled my heart knowing God had answered my prayers. Today, having a permanent place to live, and an unbelievable support system at my church, I am enjoying life again. My continuing work through “Got your 6”, is in hopes to give other women veterans the same opportunity that I was given.
Looking back, bravery is a term I like to use because, for me, bravery is having the courage to not allow anything to stop you. Once you know your path, you fight until you reach the finish line. I have had battles all along the way, whether while serving or in my personal life, but I have always tried to be brave, knowing there is always a “light at the end of the tunnel” if you keep trying. So that is one of the goals of Got Your 6, not only to help veterans returning from active duty but to ensure that no veteran feels like they don't have the tools and resources they need to get out of whatever dark situation they are currently in and begin seeing the light!