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Serving Those Who Served: United Way Supports Veterans in Texas

Recent data suggests that 25% of Texan veterans could not afford their basic needs. United Way of Tarrant County (UWTC) has taken a stand with its Mission United initiative, partnering with Combined Arms through the Texas Veterans Network (TVN). Their shared focus: support veterans like U.S. Army Vietnam veteran Betty Moreland, enabling them to rebuild their lives after overcoming adversities like homelessness.

Betty joined the U.S. Army in 1973, but her passion for her country developed much earlier. When Betty was seven, her older brother Skeetah enlisted in the military. Skeetah's first trip home was during the holidays. Twenty-six inches of snow fell on their small West Tennessee town that winter. "We went outside, and it was freezing," said Betty. "He told me to stay on the front porch, and I watched him fill the yard with sparklers and light them one by one." That Christmas was the last time she saw her brother and her most cherished memory. She could never track him down later in life, and her family assumed he died in combat. Skeetah's last words to Betty that December made a strong impression. "Skeetah told me, 'Betty, if you want to do something that is a good career, go in the military. People will respect you if you're in the military. I took that to heart. As soon as I graduated high school, I signed up."

Years later, Betty moved to Fort Worth from Florida to live with a relative. Soon after, she was kicked out and forced to live in her car. Betty searched for an affordable apartment for weeks before finding her current residence in a senior living facility in southwest Fort Worth. After moving in, however, all she had left were her clothes and the bed the facility provided. This is where United Way of Tarrant County’'s Mission United and TVN stepped in.

Kamiel Morgan, Mission United Network Manager, was touched by Betty's story. Collaborating with other organizations, the team furnished Betty's apartment and covered her rent. "Being a veteran myself, and being able to give back to veterans, brings me so much joy," said Kamiel. But the support didn't stop there. Betty was honored by a local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution with a handmaid handmade quilt, a symbol of gratitude for her service.

This intervention provided more than shelter; it restored Betty's dignity and sparked a desire to give back. "When you serve your country, you should at least have a decent place to lay your head," Betty now says, advocating for veterans in her community.

The positive, measurable impact of the Mission United initiative is an embodiment of United Way's broader commitment to health, education, and financial stability. It's a story of more than mere assistance; it's about empowering those who once protected the country, ensuring that everyone, everywhere, has the opportunity to thrive.

Betty now shares her story with veterans in her community. She helps advocate for their care, referring them to United Way of Tarrant County and the TVN. "When you serve your country, and you say you will protect the people in this country and die for them—you are making the ultimate sacrifice, and you should at least have a decent place to lay your head," said Betty.

In the mission to serve those who served the nation, UWTC and its partners have created a haven of hope and healing. Betty's life, once burdened by hardships, now shines as a beacon of community collaboration and compassion. Her story resonates as a powerful testament to the change that's possible when we work together to uplift one another.