From the desk of youth volunteer Aditi Jonnagadla, MOT Charter School – 8th grade
Around the holidays, while many of us are enjoying fun times with friends and family, some veterans who have helped serve this country are sitting on the cold ground hungry, freezing and homeless. However, one man decided to make a difference in the lives of such veterans. His name is Bill Conley. Mr. Conley and his wife found a deserted Victorian house in Middletown, DE, and were able to restore it into The Brian Conley Veterans Resiliency Center. The goal of this center is to help homeless veterans get back on their feet and reintegrate themselves back into society after their tours of duty. When my mom, my brother, and I parked in front of the center to deliver some stockings to the soldiers living at the house, Mr. Conley eagerly opened the door for us and helped bring in the heavy donations that we brought in. As soon as we entered the house, we saw many veterans sitting on the couch and chatting with one another. As we handed out the stockings, warm clothing, and other donations, the veterans seemed very grateful for the donations, and very ecstatic that people were thinking about them around the holidays. After we handed out the donations, Mr. Conley gave us a tour of the center. The center is in memoriam of Mr. Conley’s late son, Brian Conley, who lost a long battle against cancer. They hope that his resiliency inspires their veterans who reside in the center. Services that the center offers to the veterans include health and wellness, housing for 12 male veterans, resource and benefits education, financial planning, peer support, mental health referrals, credit counseling, a drop-in center, job placement, and case management. The Conleys have also employed Deborah to help warriors plan their future and come up with a plan to get them back on their feet. The sincere and dedicated efforts of Mr. Conley and his family have helped 3 men become self-reliant and move out of the shelter, into their own apartments. Hearing about all of this made me feel very grateful for what I have in life and made me feel that I want to help the Conleys’ with their mission. With all the support from their family, their neighbors, and the Township, Mr. Conley is not going to stop until every veteran that he can help gets off the streets and become self-reliant.