Nonprofit lends support to veterans
By Maria Kanai
For the staff at U.S.VETS, a nonprofit organization supporting military veterans and their families, it’s all about having a serving heart. The company has two locations in Hawaii — in Waianae and Barber’s Point — and more branches in six other states in America.
“We provide a full continuum of care for vets — we do everything, including prevention, outreach, emergency housing, transitional and permanent housing and aftercare,” said chief operating officer Darryl Vincent.
The mission of U.S.VETS is to successfully transition military veterans and their families through the provision of housing, counseling, career development and overall comprehensive support. About 30 percent of its employees are veterans — non-military citizens are welcome to work there as well.
There are currently multiple jobs available at U.S.VETS — from helping find a place for veterans to sleep to helping them with their mental health, prospective employees can find a variety of professional opportunities. Regardless of the position, Vincent stated that the organization always is looking for someone who might be passionate about giving back to their community and helping to make a difference.
“If you have that passion, you’ll succeed and do well at our company,” he said .
Waianae Civic Center (WCC) is the only U.S.VETS location that provides services to civilians and their families in addition to veterans. WCC began serving the homeless population in Hawaii in March 2007 and currently serves 300 men, women and children every day.
The Barber’s Point location at Kalaeloa provides affordable, long-term, supportive housing for veterans. This site supports the U.S.VETS signature work re-entry program, Veterans in Progress, and serves nearly 1,800 veterans.
Vincent is a veteran himself and started off as a program manager at U.S.VETS. He was eventually promoted to executive director before becoming the chief operating officer nationally.
“We have a philosophy of growing and promoting from within,” explained Vincent. “Of course, we like to bring in fresh, new ideas too, but we like to help (those) who are interested to go to the next level. Many of our executive directors have grown into the position.”
He added, “We want to help people who are willing to work hard. That’s the culture here. We are also understanding that it can be stressful for employees who work and deal with trauma, so we’re big on self-care.” That means making sure the staff takes vacation days and making it a point to help employees feel valued through staff appreciation events and honoring employees of the month.
Vincent enjoys what he does, believing that there’s purpose in it all. It’s a blessing when you’re able to do something for a living that makes a difference, he shared.
ANTHONY CONSILLIO PHOTOS
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COMPANY NAME: U.S.VETS
LOCATION: 91-1039 Shangrila St., Bldg. 37 (Barber’s Point); and Waianae Civic Center, 85-638 Farrington Hwy. (Waianae)
PHONE: 672-2977 (Barber’s Point) and 696-6770 (Waianae)
BENEFITS: 401(k), medical, vacation days, sick days, fl exible schedules and appreciation events
NOTEWORTHY: U.S.VETS provides a “livable” wage — not minimal wage. According to chief operating o~ cer Darryl Vincent, U.S.VETS employers make sure to look up the livable wage for each state and provide that amount as salary even for entry-level positions.