SAN MARCOS, Calif. — Ten years ago, Wounded Warrior Homes moved their first wounded veteran into housing. In this Zevely Zone, I went to San Marcos where the non-profit is celebrating a decade of helping our local veterans. On September 14, 2012, Wounded Warrior Homes helped their first veteran.
Retired Sgt. Rob Caudill is a Marine who served four tours in Iraq. From his nine years of service, Rob struggled with PTSD and was on his way to a homeless shelter when he got the call from Wounded Warrior Homes founder Mia Roseberry that they were open and had a spot for him. You never know when a phone call will change your life.
"I had quit drinking a week prior and that was when I had my first flashback and it was like I was watching myself through a little window watching the back of my head do the mission," said Rob while describing his breakdown.
Rob left the Marine Corp and had no place to live. In fact, he was on his way to a homeless shelter when the phone rang. "He'd been sleeping in his car with his service dog," said Wounded Warrior Homes founder Mia Roseberry. She was just getting her non-profit off the ground in 2012. "We forget how much our military means to us and we take for granted a lot of what we have," said Mia.
After she secured her first home for a veteran, she called Rob. How did that call change the course of his life? "Oh drastically, because all I needed was that place to sleep," said Rob.
In the past decade, Wounded Warrior Homes has helped thousands of veterans with food, resources and a roof over the heads. Along with a food pantry in San Marcos, Wounded Warrior Homes has three properties in Escondido, Oceanside and Vista. Their dream is to consolidate those properties to one location and open a Wounded Warrior Homes Campus.
"It's been my dream for a long time to be able to open a campus. It would be the legacy that my husband and I leave because we both want to retire, but I don't want to do that until the dream is realized just like this was," said Mia.
A medical condition prevented Mia from serving in the military. But her brother did. Captain Blake Smith was 27 years old when he died in a bombing exercise. "The Marine Corp was everything to him," said Mia who honors her brother with every veteran she serves like Rob Caudill.
"He came to me one day and said I'm moving out and I said what?" said Mia. Rob went back to college. He's now an artist who wants to share his comeback story with other veterans. "I mean you have to because I know so many guys slip through the cracks and don't know these things are out there and by me being very vocal, I am very vocal, I like to stir the pot because I like to fight to get things fixed for guys," said Rob.
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Wounded Warrior Homes is a 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to provide transitional housing and re-integrative services to post 9/11 veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Wounded Warrior Homes' vision is to facilitate the transition from wounded warrior to successful civilian, for all the veterans we help.
Learn more or make a donation, visit www.woundedwarriorhomes.org.