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shelterworks News from the Willis Dady Emergency Shelter



Martha “I’m glad I understand that while language is a gift, listening is a responsibility (U.S. poet and writer, 1943- )” - Nikki Giovanni We meet again. This time it is to talk about a young man and a veteran who entered our shelter this year. Both had two different types of appearance. Each possessed a story that had not yet been told. Samuel had been tossed and driven by voices that led him to be hospitalized while James had left another state due to his past. Both men’s mental health was in question. They had become homeless. Samuel was guarded at first time. I had read some of James’s story. Samuel had piercing blue eyes that told you so much without a word spoken. And James’s story challenged my ability to handle a controversial situation. It is what they did not say is what was heard. Samuel was educated. James had enlisted in the military. Both men had traveled abroad. One had traveled to an eastern country, the other to Vietnam. In my mind’s eye, there was much more to these men. Yet in some way they were able to share apart their life with me. One thing was clear. Their mental health had interrupted everyday living. Re-assurance in some way was what these men needed while in shelter. It required action. Listening became essential for the three of us. It was not listening in the traditional sense. It was watching and observing that if one listened carefully they could see the struggles of schizophrenia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And understand that they were complicated illnesses that required more than a short stay at shelter. Samuel was encouraged to make his appointments for his medication and look for a job. James was encouraged to work with the VA Outreach and WDES staff in trying to get the benefits for serving our country. Both men were guarded.

Yet they were reminded to believe in themselves. Soon Samuel became gainfully employed. James was on the verge of receiving benefits from the VA. Each of these men listened. And we did the same by working collaboratively with the VA outreach team. Relentless hours were spent working together to hope that James would be able to live the rest of his life out by enjoying the things that he had missed for over 20 years. Samuel required quiet understanding and encouragement. Samuel’s walk through shelter was quiet. James’s was a test of will. Some believe that hope is an important element under mental health recovery. Its’ importance is tied to one being able to control his/her life. Samuel and James struggled at times in shelter however they rose to the occasion of dealing with mental illness and homelessness. Although these two men differed in age and background, the commonality is of those who suffer under mental health problems. One suffered under mental illness that caused him to imagine things that haunted him. The other was haunted by life and war. In the end, both men received what they were searching for. Samuel became employed and saved money in shelter. James received his full benefits from the VA. They each found a place to live. A print was left for me from Samuel by a famous Spanish artist. It spoke volumes about mental illness. His smile had become quite beautiful. James began to think about how he was going to try and manage his anger and forgive himself for past mistakes. Martha Notes continued on page 2

Willis Dady Emergency Shelter Board of Directors Janet Slimak, President David Fisher, Vice President Tim Wilson, Executive Director

Bobette Ash, Secretary Jasmine Almoayed Anthony Arrington

Gabe Erickson Kay Henry Eric Jacobs

Rebecca Jacobs Sam Jones Theresa Ann Trimble

Jason Vestweber Robin Wagner

Dady Doings Annual Linn County Sleep Out for the Homeless

Saturday, November 10. Sponsor our team the Dady Power Ninjas, or start your own team!

2nd Annual Willis Dady Benefit Concert & Silent Auction Saturday, March 2, 2013 Check our website in a few weeks for details.

US military Veterans are always on our minds here at Willis Dady, no more so than in recent months. National statistics indicate that about 25% of the adult homeless population are Vets and we have seen a figure almost that high among our adult population this year. With Veterans Day coming up, it is a good time to reflect a bit on why serving Vets is so important to Willis Dady. Willis Dady has always been proud to serve Vets, who now number in the thousands over our 25 years of existence. Most have been of the Vietnam-era but in the early days, we may well have had some who fought in World War II and Korea. We have started to see a few Desert Storm-era men in recent years. Regardless of conflict, each has served our nation and been willing to sacrifice much on our behalf. The list of issues that bring Veterans to or near the point of being homeless includes most of those that affect the general population – mental illness, substance abuse, legal problems, and loss of income, to name a few. In addition, Veterans have high rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other factors that make readjustment to civilian life difficult. All of these increase the risk of homelessness. We have noticed a slight uptick this year in the number of Veterans seeking shelter, and Dusty Noble, who focuses on prevention outreach, has seen a disturbing number of Veterans on the verge of homelessness and some even living on the street.

Martha Notes Continued from page 1 These men enriched my life. I was forced to step outside of myself in reading about mental illness and trying to understand the struggles of a man who was trying to come terms with his past. Although I am just beginning this journey, by no means do I profess that I have a clear understanding of those who have a disability. That takes years of study and training. They enlightened me. It was not what I had said to them as it was in the listening. And I am indebted to them. They have in some way prepared me for working with others whose stories about mental illness are worth telling. -Martha

We know how homelessness has affected Veterans of past wars. And though we do not know how the multiple deployments faced by Veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq will impact the numbers of homeless Veterans from those conflicts, we are bracing for a future of needy Veterans. We at Willis Dady have for years participated in the planning and staffing of the Annual Linn County Stand Down for Veterans and have worked closely with our local providers of Veteran services. In recent times we have worked intensely to bring additional resources to our community via Veterans Administration grants to serve struggling Veterans and their families. Thus far, these efforts have not been successful but we are optimistic about the prospects to bring one or more new programs to the area in 2013. One thing we know with near certainty from history – we will be seeing more homeless Vets, and soon. In the meantime, we will continue to serve those Vets like James in Martha’s story (front page) who come to us for help. Your contributions help us to help them, so please give what you can as we mark Veterans Day, look forward to the Holiday Season and anticipate cold nights this winter. Thanks, especially to those who have served in uniform. -Tim

Give to wdeS How Can I Help? Overnight Volunteer

Willis Dady is in need of volunteers to staff the overnights. If you would like to find out how you can help and volunteer please contact Paul at 319-362-7555, or

Make a Charitable Contribution

The Willis Dady Emergency Shelter is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Please see below to find out how you can make a charitable contribution for a great cause.

Our Sunday Table Program

Willis Dady is looking for groups to prepare a Sunday lunch for approximately 30 people and bring it to the shelter; we provide tableware and the mouths to feed. Clients and staff enjoy the meal and conversation. All help clean up. We are currently looking to fill 2013 dates.

Volunteer at Willis Dady

Willis Dady is always in need of volunteers for all kinds of tasks. Please contact Paul for details at 319-362-7555, or email

Donate Items to Stuff, Etc.

WDES has made arrangements with Stuff, Etc. to accept items on behalf of the shelter. Proceeds from sold items will be applied to our account. When dropping off at Stuff, Etc., 252 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE C.R. Please use account number 13519.

Financial Contribution Online 1. Go to 2. Click on “How to Help” 3. Click on the box near the bottom labeled “Donate Now through Network for Good” 4. Enter your donation and credit card number U.S. Mail 1. Return the envelope included in this mailing with your contribution

Thank Special thanks to some of Those who have recently given Donations or awarded Grants ADM Foundation All Saints Church Concordia Lutheran Church Diamond V Mills Genencor Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation Diamond V Mills Corporate Fund Momentum Fund St. Jude Church St. Mark’s United Methodist Church St. Patrick’s Catholic Church Special thanks to all of the sponsors of our successful “Run for Shelter” on August 25: Platinum Sponsors:

Pat McGrath Chevyland St. Luke’s Hospital Mercy Medical Center TransAmerica Foundation Casey’s General Stores

Silver Sponsors:

Adcraft Printing United Insurance Agencies Van Meter, Inc.


Cedar Rapids RoughRiders Road ID Scheel’s

WDES is proud to be a Partner Agency of the United Way of East Central Iowa

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 49 Cedar Rapids, IA

Willis Dady Emergency Shelter, Inc. 1247 4th Ave SE Cedar Rapids, IA 52403


Board Members Meet Our Board Members!

Sam Jones

Sam Jones joined the Willis Dady Board of Directors earlier in 2012. He is an attorney at Shuttleworth & Ingersoll in Cedar Rapids. Sam is a trial lawyer and many of his cases involve the construction industry. Prior to moving to Cedar Rapids, Sam attended Grinnell College and the University of Iowa College of Law. Before that, Sam grew up in South Dakota. He is married to Diana Jones, a first year dental student at the University of Iowa. Sam and Diana have a beautiful one year old daughter named Amelia. Sam enjoys playing with his dogs, watching football with his daughter, and lifting weights. Sam says, “I volunteer at Wilis Dady because it plays a critical role in our community. Willis Dady transitions folks who are otherwise out of options to a stable safe place. Willis Dady is staffed by a small but highly motivated group of people that get things done. I am proud of whatever small role I am able to play.�

WD Winter 2012 Issue  
WD Winter 2012 Issue  

Winter of 2012 Newsletter for WIllis Dady Emergency Shelter