In March 2019, a bomb cyclone hit Colorado Springs, Colo., and devastated The Crawford House, a veterans transitional housing center accommodating up to 13 veterans at a time.
“I was called by one of my managers,” said Jerome Ford, U.S. Air Force veteran and program manager at The Crawford House.
“Everybody was sheltered in place, so I had to remain in place until I could get there in the morning and see what was going on.”
When he arrived the next morning, Jerome was shocked by the extent of the damage. He was surprised that no residents were injured. The roof was hanging off the back side of the building, and water was seeping in through what little covering was left. The staff was able to set up housing for the veteran residents at a local hotel, but they knew it was a temporary solution.
Soon, they discovered that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs wouldn’t be able to send anymore veterans to the facility until it was fully repaired, and money was running low. That’s when community partners in the area stepped up to help. Among them: the American Legion Auxiliary.
“The American Legion Auxiliary is just one of those organizations that comes ready to serve veterans and help out this community,” Jerome said. “I think it’s absolutely amazing.”
A local ALA unit applied for a Veteran Projects Fund grant from the ALA Foundation and was awarded $5,000 to support The Crawford House in their effort to rebuild their refuge for homeless veterans. Jerome explained how the grant was able to cover repairs the insurance could not and sped up the process of rebuilding.
With the help of the Veteran Projects Fund grant, The Crawford House was able to reopen its door to veterans in need in April 2020, more than one year after disaster struck. Jerome and fellow staff are still in awe at the way so many organizations rallied to help them recover.
“I would say to donors: Thank you, and continue to support these grants and your community,” Jerome said, “because your service to us makes a profound difference in veterans’ lives.”
Because of #GivingTuesday, Jerome Ford and The Crawford House were able to get their doors open faster to serve our veterans. Imagine what will happen this year, because of #GivingTuesday. Do your part by making a gift to the ALA Foundation today.