Deaconess Nurse Ministry Helps Veteran Find Home

Pornpak Khunatorn/

One of the many ways that CHHSM member Deaconess Nurse Ministry helps the local St. Louis community is through participation in community events. One such even is a dinner service held at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. The church hosts the dinners for homeless persons the first three weeks of every month, with various churches taking turns preparing and serving the meals. “Nurse Cindy,” a Deaconess Nurse Ministry RN, provides a nurse ministry to the attendees twice a week.

One evening during the dinner Nurse Cindy met Mr. L — a 63-year-old veteran who was a pilot in the Vietnam War. Mr. L was standing in the room, studying the poster board that shows possible resources available which Nurse Cindy had on display near her information and health assessment table. 

Mr. L approached the nurse’s table for his health assessment intake. He then shared his story of hardship. He had been evicted and was currently homeless. He needed legal services and a place to call home. He was lonely, and exposed to the severe cold during the winter months. Nurse Cindy listened to his story and assured him that she would do her best to help him as much as she was able. Through the resources from Deaconess Nurse Ministry, she helped him with the process of applying for housing, legal and tax preparation assistance.

The next month, Mr. L returned to the Peter and Paul Dinner Service with paperwork that showed he had been approved for an apartment. He was so happy and wanted to say “thanks” to the nurse. He said he had been on the street for many years. 

But there was still a lot he needed to do. He was happy to be in an apartment, but he couldn’t really afford much. He had anxiety talking about the emptiness of his apartment. He also needed access to dental and health care. Cindy told him that he was welcome to come see her with any health-related concern, she would always be there to help him. She gave him information about the free Salam Clinic where another nurse from Deaconess Nurse Ministry is working, at which he can see a physician or a psychologist if needed. 

Nurse Cindy then helped him apply for $250 emergency assistance with Deaconess Nurse Ministry — Senior Fund. The fund paid for a deposit on the apartment he was approved for. Deaconess Nurse Ministry also provided a complete set of dishes, silverware, glasses, pots and pans, all the necessary kitchen utensils, a wall clock to match the pattern, bath towels, shower caddy, bed sheet sets and blankets — everything he needed to make the apartment a home for him.

Mr. L is now independent and safe in his own space to contemplate his faith in God. He is taking better care of his health, and he is willing to reach out for help without feeling afraid that people would judge him. With a smile on his face, he recently told Nurse Cindy, “I really like the clock the most.”

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