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John’s Journey with Mission United

Monday, October 30, 2023

The Mission United team helps veterans, active-duty military members and their families access community resources and services. All those who make up Mission United are either veterans themselves or spouses/family of military members, so they are passionate about serving those who served their country.

When the Mission United team met John Kirby*, he was going through a challenging time. While in the military, John served in Germany, working to create a corridor for passage between East and West Germany, and in the Gulf War. Later, years after returning to civilian life, he fell into a dark place after his wife divorced him. He described the trauma of divorce as triggering the trauma he experienced in war. 

Our first interaction with John occurred as he was going through Veterans Treatment Court, a result of a misdemeanor he received related to his struggles with alcohol. He connected with us for help after hearing a presentation given by David Johnson, Mission United  program and partner support manager, who is himself a U.S. Air Force veteran.

One of Mission United's team’s goals is to ensure each client has all their needs met. Through Mission United’s partnership with Texas Veterans Network™, powered by Combined Arms, we have a vast number of resources offering all kinds of different services. The Mission United team knows that while a client may initially call seeking help with one thing, there are often multiple challenges that become uncovered through the intake process. They aim to be diligent about checking in with each client, which is exactly what John experienced when he worked with one of Mission United’s intake specialists, Kara Woodruff, whose husband also served in the U.S. Army. 

“She was like a social worker, if you will, a mom. She took care of all of my needs,” said John. “She spent time with me to understand exactly what I needed and then she would follow up, and follow up, and follow up. It’s what I needed."

Mission United referred John to Combatants Overcoming Income Needs (COIN), which helped him get essential repairs to his broken-down car.  

“It’s just me and my dog, Buddha. Buddha doesn’t drive; it’s just me,” said John. “To not have a vehicle in today’s environment is real tough. It got me back on my feet.”

The Mission United team also connected John with a meal service for veterans and an organization that helps veterans with medical appointments. John shared that the help Mission United offered allowed him to take positive action in his life. 

“When those things happen, it changes your attitude, it changes your perspective,” said John. “It changes your ability to say ‘You know what, I’m going to keep fighting. I’m going to get out of this rut, I’m going to get out of this hole.’”

With the hand-up from Mission United, John has put in the work to turn his life around. He recently completed a course in information technology and now has a job with furniture, fixtures, and equipment installations company, helping them acquire new accounts.

He is also two years sober and has started a group for other veterans recovering from alcoholism. He is passionate about preventing veteran suicide and is an active volunteer with the American Legion, frequently doing “buddy checks” to make sure other veterans feel like they have someone to talk to.

John is incredibly grateful for the help he received from Mission United, and he is eager to make sure other veterans know about the program.

"I’m so proud to be a veteran. I’m so proud to have helped this country in a little tiny way. Now, I’m going to help the veterans who have had a few bumps in the road, and Mission United is right there.”


Name shared with permission.