How an Angel Taught Me How to Help a Homeless Veteran through Sharing on Social Media.

It’s Memorial Day, 2014, and I could be doing so many other things. Yet, I’m drawn to sit and type like never before. I am drawn to tell the story of how an angel taught me how to help a homeless veteran through social media. Bear with me as I write, what my soul has been shouting to get out.

In 2012, I made a decision that changed my entire world. I asked a woman named, Shaun Stephenson, to coach me. Yet, before our first appointment, I made another life altering decision. I decided to open a social media-marketing firm. Later, when I told Shaun that I had left the agency I was a partner at and started a new company, she didn’t freak out. She didn’t ask, are you crazy? She just asked me the name of the agency. I told her, I have named it Social Abundance Marketing. She explained to me that the universe has heard the name and abundant my business will be. If I wanted to name all the reasons why I was out of my mind for starting my own company, or bring any drama or trauma into that conversation, her response cut it off then and there.

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Shaun and I posing for a selfie, when she stayed with me during her drive across country to her new home.

Fast forward to November of 2013, when I received a call from Shaun who had recently moved her life from New Jersey to Arizona. She called to tell me she had breast cancer. She asked me the “Social Media Marketer” to create a group of cherished friends, so that we could lift her up and go through this journey with her.

This group became a lifeline for all the women and men, who loved Shaun. We watched, encouraged, lifted her up, and prayed for her every step of the way. Most of the people in the group would have never considered that Shaun, who we loved so dearly and who had helped so many, would  lose her fight against breast cancer. Yet, she did on May 18th, 2014. The group has now become a memorial for people all over the country to comfort, love, and continue Shaun’s legacy of love, light, and hope.

Now onto the next part of the story… my husband started a homeless ministry in Louisville, Kentucky in 2013, called Fed with Faith. It’s not his full-time job, but he devotes most of the hours he’s off to it. Shaun was thrilled when my husband started this mission and encouraged us in her matter of fact way. She would say, of course your husband is doing this, the universe is aligning things for him to live in his passion. She would encourage me to share my stories of the business, life, and our ministry through social media, not just running my client’s businesses. She taught me how to open up and be vulnerable with this world, because we all have a story to share.

This past week, my husband took a stay-cation and spent most of his days off helping his homeless ministry. This is where we met Philip, a homeless veteran. Phillip was an E7 Sergeant 1st Class, U.S. Army with an honorable discharge. He has served our country in one tour in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan. He showed us his scars where they couldn’t remove the shrapnel, because it’s too close to his lung.

Here are some other things to know about Philip, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s within the last year. When he left the Army, he had trouble fitting into society, because he missed the regiment of Army life. He also has PTSD and recently had to wait 42 days to get an appointment for his medication. In between, he was without his medication for 12 days. He said that during that time, he did not know how he managed to get through his daily life, as he knows he is not himself and his PTSD is worse without it.

Why do I say an angel taught me how to help a homeless veteran through sharing on social media? On Friday, we aired the video of Philip on Fed with Faith and Social Abundance Marketing’ social media about his faith despite his circumstances. It has been viewed hundreds of times and we are starting to get people to reach out to help Philip. I might have been very uncomfortable to write about Shaun and Philip just 2 years ago on my work site. I wouldn’t have wanted to be so vulnerable to tell the world how two people have touched my heart in a profound way. I used to wonder would people hire me if I shared too personally? Would they be turned off? Am I being too controversial? Yet, being asked to start and administer Shaun’s group taught me how to be vulnerable. It taught me to thank the negative thoughts for sharing, and then focus on all the positive things that could come out from it. Social Media is not just a profession for me, it’s a calling to put words to stories and share them socially, whether those words are from people or companies.

If you would like to find out how you can help Philip or any of the other people we serve, please contact my husband at jean@fedwithfaith.org.

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Shaun Stephenson (September 22nd, 1969 - May 18th 2014)

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