The mission of the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation is to positively impact the lives of veterans, military, and their families.

To say that The Guardian House, a female veteran transitional housing center in Saratoga, N.Y., positively impacted the life of U.S. Air Force veteran Janet Harrington is a gross understatement.

Harrington is proud to have served from 1985-1989 in Saudi Arabia, working on and ordering supplies for E-3 aircrafts.

It was hard work, and to deal with her fears and sadness, she drank.

“We all drank because that was the way that we coped with our feelings,” Harrington said.

When she returned home, Harrington continued to turn to substances to help combat her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Military Sexual Trauma, coupled with sexual assault she survived earlier in life.

Harrington tried to get better on her own, completing a college degree during one stretch of sobriety. But while at school, her sister had a stroke.

The stress of the situation caused Harrington to relapse, and in 2015, she flatlined, sending her to the hospital. After she recovered, she didn’t know where to turn. Then she found The Guardian House.

“I was finally set free and able to breathe. They made me feel at home. They helped me get over my anxiety,” she said.

American Legion Auxiliary New York Unit 1450 recently received a Veteran Projects Fund grant from the ALA Foundation to purchase a van to transport residents of The Guardian House to social events, doctor appointments, and Harrington’s favorite: to drop off donations.

“When people donate stuff and we aren’t going to use it, we pay it forward to other veterans in the community,” she said.

The importance of giving back is just one thing The Guardian House has taught Harrington, who now works at a local homeless shelter.

“I don’t think I would have gotten to the other side without them,” she said. “They helped me help others. I will now be a productive member of society as opposed to a burden.”

Help the ALA Foundation support more veterans like Janet Harrington by making a donation to the Veteran Projects Fund. Click here to make an online donation and be sure to select the option for Veteran Projects Fund.