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Bereavement and New Beginnings

At UWS, we strive to be a clearinghouse of resources for veterans and their families. Duplicating nothing and partnering with everyone, we work to connect veterans to community-based solutions no matter what the need is. Sometimes a resource doesn’t exist, and our team must find creative solutions. However, sometimes one veteran’s need can actually become the answer to another’s situation. This was the case with Bob and Ellen Rush.

The Rush’s traveled to Greenville from Pennsylvania in May 2022 following the death of Ellen’s brother, James Creighton, an Army veteran who lived in the Upstate. Their wish was to donate all his belongings, including household items, to local veterans in need. A representative at Greenville County Veterans Affairs connected the Rush’s to Upstate Warrior Solution to ensure the donation would have the greatest impact possible.

While our family services team was working with the Rush’s, our Justice-Involved Warrior Advocate, Zach Goff, was working with another veteran on the verge of homelessness. This veteran had separated from the Army in 2021 after 14 years of service. At the time of the Rush’s donation, she had been given a week’s notice to move out of her current residence. Due to credit issues, she was having difficulty finding a place that would give her a lease.

Zach Goff wrote a letter to the property manager on the veteran’s behalf explaining that UWS was working with her on key issues such as employment, financial management, and education assistance. Goff asked the company to work with the veteran so she would not become homeless. After being previously denied, the veteran received a call stating she had been approved. The veteran moved into a home in Seneca; however, she had virtually no furniture or household items of her own.

The Rush’s donation couldn’t have been timed better. Working on a time crunch before they had to return to Pennsylvania, the UWS team collected the items and delivered them to the veteran’s new home in Seneca. “I don’t know what we would have done without UWS,” says Ellen Rush. “We had so much to do and so little time. It was a logistical nightmare, but thanks to UWS and the Mackey Funeral Home, it only took us five days.”

“There are days when you see a need in the community, and you aren’t sure how you’ll be able to help. Then there are situations like this, where the pieces fit together and the timing is just so striking,” says UWS Family Services Coordinator, Virginia Barnes. “We’re so grateful to Bob and Ellen Rush for their compassion and concern for veterans in need through this donation!”