So many veterans have an interesting history; getting to know them and hearing their stories makes working with them even more enjoyable. This was the case for Michael Lewis, an Army veteran (’61-’63) referred to Alaska Warrior Partnership (AKWP) by his step-daughter for assistance with his home.
Michael originally contacted AKWP in December for snow removal assistance. Through working with him, AKWP Case Coordinator Jordan Rashea learned a great deal about Michael and his life.
Besides his military career, Michael worked at NBC at Rockefeller Center in the 1960s. In 1979 he opened Memory Lane, the first Vintage Clothing store in Anchorage. He has also worked as an employment counselor and operated a moving company for over 20 years. He is an avid concertgoer, even at 80 years old. He has 48 bulletin boards full of tickets from all the concerts he has attended throughout his lifetime. Michael has traveled the world, enjoys playing piano, and is an incredible storyteller. Hearing veterans like Michael speak so positively about the rich life that they have lived is awe-inspiring.
“I love to help people. I always have. I have had over 70 jobs and all of them involved helping people. I volunteer anytime I can.” – Michael Lewis, Army Veteran
In getting to know Michael, Jordan also learned that he needed help with his utility and mortgage payments. Jordan connected Michael with her contact at the Veterans Association for Real Estate Professionals (VARep), who secured the money to help pay Michael’s utility bill. The VARep also learned that Michael’s mortgage servicer may have committed predatory lending and modified his mortgage to a payment that exceeds his fixed income. The VARep is currently in the process of working with Michael to resolve this change. AKWP and partners have addressed this situation and will continue to work with Michael to make sure this issue is resolved in the future.
We live in a world where there is so much information out there, it is easy to forget that each veteran is their own individual with unique experiences. AKWP seeks to support every veteran holistically, to hear their stories, support them in what they need, and connect them to their community. We are grateful for veterans like Michael for sharing with us and letting us provide them with the connections they need to thrive in their communities.
Alaska is stronger when our veterans are stronger. Connect with AKWP to learn more about how you can give back to the Alaskan veteran community by visiting our website and completing an online form: http://alaskawarriorpartnership.org/