Something to Look Forward to
This veteran is a hero to us
A young veteran who had transitioned just over two years ago, came into The Oasis Townsville homeless, under the influence of methamphetamines and suicidal. Everything he owned was crammed into the back of his car, and he had not engaged with his family for a long time.
He was found by another veteran in Townsville, sitting on the street in the city. Here he was introduced to The Oasis Townsville.
A member of Team Oasis convinced the young veteran to come into Homebase. We arranged temporary accommodation at Zac's Place and found a rehabilitation clinic to accept the young veteran. We then arranged his travel and treatment and for DVA to fund them, and then arranged for the removal of his car and effects and for Defence to fund that.
When the young veteran first arrived, we spent the afternoon building trust, convincing him that Homebase was a safe place that respected all veterans and their families, and there was no judgement. We realised we needed to convince him that he needed to go to the hospital. We succeeded and an ambulance was called. Unfortunately, the veteran spent only a few hours in the hospital before being discharged. Fortunately, he returned to Homebase and slept in the park down the road, but not before leaving a note to let us know he was alright and would come back in when he woke.
Our first task was to organise crisis accommodation for him. Zac’s Place (Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia -Townsville Branch) again stepped up as it has on many occasions now, and supported us to ensure the veteran had a place to sleep over the weekend.
We then arranged for a mental health and rehabilitation clinic to take him in. The next week, his admission to the clinic was declined, which was a huge knockback for him. Team Oasis pulled together as we recognised time was of the essence – if we did not get him urgent help, he was at great real risk to himself. One of our Team did significant research and confirmed another clinic willing to take him on. Yet another team member worked with DVA to have the treatment and travel funded. Before we knew it, he was off!
A few weeks later, the clinic advised that DVA had advised they may not fund the treatment and, therefore, the veteran would again be at risk. The lead planner working with this young veteran spent hours on the phone and email to DVA to convince the delegate of the necessity, and eventually, compassion and reason prevailed.
Our young hero has now completed rehabilitation, been asked to stay on as a mentor to support others and offered accommodation in return. He has kept in constant contact with us, and everyone in Team Oasis is very proud of his achievement of completely turning his life around in six months. He was so proud of himself and grateful for the support he received from The Oasis Townsville. The members of Team Oasis closely involved in supporting this grateful young veteran were invited to his graduation. He has now also re-engaged with his family.
To watch him turn his entire life around in six months has been the most incredible journey. It helps our plans and linkages coordinators appreciate the knowledge they have can change veterans' lives. A thoroughly rewarding task.
Postscript: The little note he wrote on that first night is pinned to the board and inspires Team Oasis everyday.