UWTC’s Mission United Helps Veterans Get the Services They Need
Recent data from United Way Texas shows that 25% of Texas’ veterans are unable to afford their basic needs. United Way of Tarrant County’s Mission United initiative focuses on supporting our veterans who so selflessly served our nation. Last year, the Mission United team assisted U.S. Army Vietnam veteran Betty Moreland in turning her new apartment into a relaxing home after overcoming homelessness. Like many people getting on their feet, Betty only had the clothes on her back and needed help getting settled.
A Passion to Serve
Betty joined the U.S. Army in 1973, but her passion for her country developed much earlier in her life. When Betty was seven years old, her older brother Skeetah enlisted in the military. Skeetah’s first trip home was during the holidays. That winter, 26 inches of snow fell on their small west Tennessee town.
“We went outside, and it was freezing,” said Betty. “He told me to stay on the front porch, and I watched him fill the yard with sparklers and light them one by one.”
That Christmas was the last time she saw her brother and her most cherished memory. She never was able to track him down later in life, and her family assumed he died in combat. Skeetah’s last words to Betty that December made a strong impression.
“Skeetah told me, ‘Betty, if you want to do something that is a good career in life, go in the military. People will respect you if you’re in the military. I took that to heart. As soon as I graduated high school, I signed up.”
During her career in the Army, Betty suffered a car accident, forcing her to take a desk job and leading to arthritis that continues to give her pain to this day. She worked as a telephone operator, helping connect families to their loved ones overseas and dispatching emergency services. After the military, Betty worked for the Veterans Health Administration and had three children.
UWTC Provides Hope and Healing
Years later, Betty moved to Fort Worth from Florida to live with a relative. Soon after, she was kicked out and forced to live in her car. For weeks, Betty searched for an affordable apartment before finding her current residence in a senior living facility in southwest Fort Worth. After moving in, however, all she had were her clothes and the bed the facility provided.
Through online research, Betty found the United Way of Tarrant County’s Mission United team from the Texas Veterans Network (TVN). Through United Way of Tarrant County’s partnership with Combined Arms, TVN provides access to services, resources and programming for active duty members, veterans and their families.
Mission United Network Manager Kamiel Morgan connected Betty with organizations that furnished her apartment and provided money for her rent payment.
“I was inspired by Betty from listening to her story,” said Kamiel. “Being a veteran myself and being able to give back to veterans in the community brings me so much joy to be able to still serve.”
This service continued after the initial contact with Betty. Prior to Veterans Day last year, Kamiel was approached by a local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution to help them recognize a local veteran. She immediately thought of Betty, who was presented with a handmaid quilt to thank her for her service.
“I was honored,” said Betty. “I wasn’t expecting anything like that.”
Serving Those Who Served Us
Betty now shares her story with veterans in her community and helps advocate for their care, referring them to United Way of Tarrant County and the TVN.
“When you serve your country, and you say you will protect the people in this country and die for them—you are making the ultimate sacrifice, and you should at least have a decent place to lay your head,” said Betty.
United Way of Tarrant County couldn’t agree more—we are proud to collaborate with and support organizations that serve veterans and their families, ensuring they have the resources they need to thrive. It’s our honor to give back to those who gave everything to our country.
To learn more about the services we provide to active duty members, veterans and their families, visit unitedwaytarrant.org/what-we-do/programs-we-run/mission-united.