Army veteran Howard McMillan’s eyesight problem made him unable to pursue his career as a welder as he could not pass the necessary eye exam. Unable to secure employment, he was living in a shelter in the Fort Worth area. “I didn’t know how I was going to make it,” said McMillian. He had the contact information of Texas Veterans Commission’s (TVC) Justice Involved Veterans Coordinator Erin McGann and gave her a call.
McGann introduced McMillian to his area Military Veteran Peer Coordinator, LaJohn McDonald, in November 2020. Since then, McDonald has helped McMillian schedule the eye care he needs and with housing. Additionally, McDonald connected him with TVC Health Care Advocate Gina Roberts. She is helping McMillan with VA health services and with entering the HUD-VASH program. HUD-VASH is a collaborative program between HUD and VA that combines HUD housing vouchers with VA supportive services to help homless veterans and their families find and sustain permanent housing. Further, McMillian has been connected with TVC for assistance with his Claims.
Pictured are LaJohn McDonald and Gina Roberts.
“It’s about connecting him with community and getting him the resources he needs,” said McDonald.
“He (LaJohn McDonald ) helped me through it, he helped me stay grounded so I didn’t give up,” said McMillan. “It was more than physical help; the mental health, the support and morale he gave.”
Once discouraged, McMillian is now optimistic. He said he looks forward to having his vision corrected, the potential of being able to return to work and possibly driving again.
“There is a huge team helping me,” said McMillan. “I came out here hopeless. I didn’t know how I was going to make it. LaJohn and Gina pushed me through it. They’re really good people.”
Pictured is Howard McMillan.