In 2012 I incorporated Sheppard’s Hands in Missouri as I had made plans to move to Missouri where my friends lived after my sister died from cancer. The mission was to work with veterans in Jefferson City. While we were developing plans for the organization LB became ill and passed away and his wife did not want to move forward.
I did nothing with the organization for a period of time as I had to make a decision whether to move forward or allow the organization to die, but since I had money invested in the organization, I made the decision to move forward. This led to my spending more than a year researching needs of veterans as I did not want to reinvent the wheel.
After much research and talking with people I decided to focus on serving women veterans, as there were limited programs and services available for women veterans. When visiting friends in Lexington in 2015 I learned that Commissioner Heather French Henry had identified 2015 as the year of women veterans. I visited the Commissioner and shared my vision and to gain some direction from her experience and began reaching out to share my vision.
Later, in 2015 a one-room office was donated for the organization. For three years I slept in the floor of the office while getting the organization started and on its feet. In December, 2015 Rev. James Thurman called me and told me he had bought a house to flip, but God told him to call me to see if I could use it. He donated the house to me for one year while we made renovations and opened the home in July, 2016. The next year we purchased the home. From July, 2016 until the home was closed due to COVID in November, 2020 there was not a night that at least one woman veteran did not live in the home.
During this time, I refinanced my home to have the funds to cover expenses for the organization, and living expenses for myself while working diligently to get the organization operational and sustainable. I cashed in stock to make the down payment on the home in Lexington when LVC purchased it.
In 2016 the VA hospital invited Lady Veterans Connect to become the My VA Community organization for the 43 counties served by the Lexington VA. I agreed, and under the umbrella of LVC began Veterans Resources United of Central/Southeastern Kentucky (VRUCK). VRUCK operates as a coalition of organizations that supports veterans, and has been instrumental in bringing back the Veterans Day Parade (there had not been one for ten years) and the formation of Lexington Fayette Urban County Government Veterans Commission and the creation of the Week of Valor.
My sole income is my social security and income from being an online instructor at Grand Canyon University. I have not asked the organization to reimburse me for any funds that I have expended as my desire is to leave LVC as a legacy that will thrive and be sustainable long after I am gone.