From a young age, Diane was inspired by her mother, who worked on a U.S. Army base. Diane knew that one day she wanted serve her country by enlisting in the military.
“Going into the military was a dream come true, or so I thought,” Diane said. “Within a few weeks of arriving at Fort Stewart, my life would change forever.”
Diane became a victim of military sexual trauma and abuse. She felt hopeless, with no one to turn to – her military career was ruined.
“I became depressed, had panic attacks, and I tried to kill myself for the first time,” Diane said.
Without giving herself a chance to heal properly, Diane struggled in several abusive and failed relationships, all while trying to raise a family. She eventually ended up homeless, living in a car with her dog. Finally, one night they ran out of gas, and she got in contact with Phyllis Abbott and Lady Veterans Connect, a nonprofit organization based in Kentucky dedicated to providing high-quality, comprehensive services to assist female veterans and prevent homelessness.
“She came and scooped me up, fed me, put me in a hotel, and got me on my way to healing,” Diane said.
Though Lady Veterans Connect started as a small organization that could serve only a few veterans at a time, they have quickly grown with the help of their community. In addition, two local American Legion Auxiliary units and the ALA Department of Kentucky have received Veteran Projects Fund grants from the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation totaling $24,000 to help renovate a former elementary school into housing for up to 32 female veterans.
After a complete overhaul of the building, the new home was opened and began providing vital services to female veterans in April 2020.
“Lady Veterans Connect changed my life,” Diane said.
“They helped me get the help I needed for so long. Besides helping me get counseling, they changed my whole outlook on life. I began loving myself again and became the strong person I used to be.” Because of #GivingTuesday, more veterans like Diane are getting the resources they need to lead successful lives. Help the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation support more projects like this by giving a gift today at www.ALAFoundation.org/GivingTuesday