Salvation Army saves veterans in partnership with VA

Rose Howard, at right, and Paulla Sheely reach for cups and napkins Wednesday as Willie McCoy greets lunch attendees entering the lunchroom at the Salvation Army Center of Hope. Howard is an employee of the Salvation Army, and Sheely volunteers at the center. McCoy keeps track of the number of diners who use the lunchroom.

Rose Howard, at right, and Paulla Sheely reach for cups and napkins Wednesday as Willie McCoy greets lunch attendees entering the lunchroom at the Salvation Army Center of Hope. Howard is an employee of the Salvation Army, and Sheely volunteers at the center. McCoy keeps track of the number of diners who use the lunchroom.

When U.S. Marine Corps veterans Willie McCoy made it into The Salvation Army’s Center of Hope in August, “I was three-quarters dead,” he said.

“They lifted me up, and I’m still here.”

As many as 150 veterans like McCoy may have been helped by a partnership between The Salvation Army Center of Hope and the Truman VA Medical Center in Columbia in the past five years.

For veterans who find themselves homeless in Cole County, the Center of Hope provides the residential piece while the VA helps connect them with appropriate programs, said Katie Burnham Wilkins, health care for homeless veterans program coordinator at the Truman VA Hospital.

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