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Veteran Valor

Thursday, September 16, 2021 10:00 am by Daniel Palugyai

Phillip Smith (name changed for privacy) is a United States Navy veteran who learned through careful research about Camillus House while still thousands of miles away. He successfully executed his plan to move to Florida and stay at Camillus House for a brief period that came in under 60 days while helping him find work, a career plan, and housing of his own.

Raised in New York, Phillip joined the Navy in 1997. From the Pacific Northwest, his aircraft carrier took him to Hawaii, Dubai (before its growth boom as he explains), Singapore, Hong Kong, Perth and Hobart in Australia, Canada, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and the West Coast. In return, Philip served as a hull technician, which he says is “basically a plumber.” He then started working with catapults right underneath the flight deck helping the jets take off.

He helped his sister get situated into her own apartment for a few years in Connecticut. His parents passed and children grown, Phillip- who worked with homeless veterans in a program similar to Camillus House’s- and now desiring to fulfill his dream of living in Florida, knew where to go. 

He got in his truck and drove down. Slept in it for a week and a half. And on his second day here he shared his DD214 proof of military service formwork with an Operation Sacred Trust representative. He then made his way onto the 4th floor at Camillus House with fellow veterans safely and stably housed and fully supported. 

During the pandemic, at a time when convenience is at an all-time premium, Phillip notes the luxury of having everything he needed at his fingertips without having to ever leave the Camillus campus. From doctors and food to workout spaces and more, the experience was uniquely satisfying. 

Phillip credits Darrell and Alyssa, his Camillus House case managers, for helping clear up a discrepancy on his birth certificate and helping him get a warehouse job that pays well. Phillip is ready also to embark on a new career as a paramedic/EMT.  And he’ll do it all while sleeping in comfort on a bed large enough to support his frame as well as a couch to welcome company in the new home Camillus helped find and furnish. 

“All I need is to be pointed in the right direction,” Phillip says. Thanks to generous community support, Phillip is getting a comfortable bed and couch to complete his new home.Thanks to your support, Camillus House shared the guidance he needed to get back on his feet while fulfilling his dreams.

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