Dawn has a passion for helping veterans. She comes from a long line of Military Service Members both on her
mom and dad’s side of the family. Additionally, her husband and oldest son are Active Duty Veterans.
Towards the end of last year, Dawn became informed about the struggles of the homeless in America, specifically
homeless veterans. She wanted to reach out and help those who had served their country. In her research to find
shelters nearby where she could serve, she learned about the Salina Rescue Mission.
She liked that the Mission was not only a place to help provide food and shelter, but also included job training, a
recovery program and assisted people with medical and mental health issues.
Within a few weeks she was volunteering at the Mission to help our Veteran residents. She assists by helping
them to obtain their Military Records and getting them in programs available through the VA.
Dawn shared about one veteran she helped. For privacy reasons we will call him Gabriel.
“Gabriel was a Vietnam Veteran like my father and uncles. He served in the military from 1965 until sometime
in the 1980s. He had seen a lot and been through so much in his career before being Honorably Discharged.
Some of those experiences he shared with me, while the rest you could see in his eyes.”
As Gabriel aged he became disabled and was unable to continue work, that is when he became homeless.
Dawn continued, “When I first started working with Gabriel the sadness in his eyes was overwhelmingly heart
wrenching. I saw a man who felt broken down from trying to climb his way back to solid ground.”Gabriel suffered
from what they called “shell shock” in the 60’s and 70’s, today we recognize it as Post Tramatic Stress Disorder.
It affected his memory and made it hard for him to focus and prioritize what he needs to do. Often times those
suffering from PTSD feel bogged down and overwhelmed.
Dawn sat down with Gabriel at the Mission and helped him to develop a checklist with short term goals for him
to accomplish that would ultimately assist him in completing his long-term goals.
She explained, “We started with just five things for him to do at a time. He would work on one until it was
accomplished and move to the next goal. Each goal piggy-backed off the previous accomplishment and so on,
until ultimately all the goals were completed.”
Dawn shared, “It was very rewarding to see Gabriel feel empowered as he accomplished his goals. He had pride
in himself again and felt as though he could see a light at the end of the tunnel. The sadness in his eyes started
fading and was one day replaced by the biggest smile.”
Gabriel has since moved out of the Mission and into his own place and continues to move forward with life. This
is the impact you and our volunteers have.
There are many ways to get involved at the Mission. Whether it is teaching a class, helping to serve a meal,
sharing a message at chapel, assisting with projects around the Mission or working with our residents.