MINNEAPOLIS — Far too many Minnesota veterans don't have a safe place to call home or are on the brink of homelessness.
The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans — or MACV — is an organization that's trying to help solve veteran homelessness.
Last year, MACV provided services to nearly 600 veteran families with children. United States Army Veteran, Alex Harver, was one of those veterans who reached out in a time of need.
"Alex means strong," said Harver.
One conversation with Alex Harver and you learn how strong they truly are. Harver served eight years in the Army as a medical lab specialist. Their job crucial to saving the lives of fellow soldiers.
"About 70 percent of doctors decisions come from laboratory test," said Harver.
Harver made the most of life in the military.
"I re-enlisted to go to Germany and that was to make sure I got my adventure to fit in there," said Harver.
But after Harver's last enlistment, they longed for another job. "I wanted to be a mom and stay at home," said Harver.
Two children and then a divorce left the family facing hard times. Alex reached out to MACV for help.
"I was facing homelessness and they helped me find transitional housing and get into an apartment," said Harver.
November first they moved in. Their children love being home for the holidays.
One of MACV's community partners, Every Third Saturday, also played a critical role in helping the Harver's get back on their feet.
"I went to the Warriors Path which is now Warriors Return," said Harver. "Did that for five weeks."
Warrior's Return is a five-week course that helps to support veterans as they navigate post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health challenges after they return to civilian life.
"It's unseen but felt and its the energy everyone has its just so uplifting," said Harver. "You can really tell that they care."
Alex's involvement with MACV and ETS led to another program that has been instrumental in supporting their mental and physical needs. That organization was Mile in My Shoes.
Mile in My Shoes was designed to build community through running, meeting veterans where they are, and offering support and stability through exercise.
"What I felt like I was missing was like going somewhere, hanging out with some people, exercising," said Harver. "It was a great support."
Alex is grateful that MACV made a way for future plans.
"I'm in recovery about two years now," said Harver. "I'm starting school and I'm going to be doing graphic design instead of lab tech. I'm focusing on self care, creativity, and being with the kids."
WCCO is partnering with MACV this holiday season in an effort to support veterans like Harver.
You can support veterans like Harver and their family by donating to our "Home for the Holidays" campaign. You can text MACV to 44321 or click here. By following that link, you'll also find details on gifting an ornament for our holiday tree.
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