Special to the Guide
Eighty-three-year-old Abraham Smith is a proud Army veteran and Norfolk resident who is determined to remain independent as long as possible. Over the years, he has slowed down a little, using a walker to get around. It’s become increasingly difficult for him to ride the bus for more than three hours, transferring three times, to get to his medical appointments at the veterans hospital in Hampton. “When you miss appointments there, it’s another 3 months or so to get it again,” said Smith, “so it’s very important to make that appointment or it becomes mission impossible.”
Then Smith found out about Mission United, which just celebrated its 2nd anniversary in Hampton Roads. Mission United is a United Way of South Hampton Roads collective impact that helps veterans and families with the services they need to be safe, stable and self-sufficient, including transportation.
“When I get a ride from them, it takes me no time at all. They do help you and I thank God for them,” Smith repeated several times.
Recently Dominion Energy employees on one of the company’s Diversity Councils gave a $1,000 grant to Mission United for its transportation partnership with Coastal Ride. Coastal Ride, through their New Freedom Fund, matches donations dollar for dollar.
Celestine Moore is the Manager of Customer Accounts at Dominion Energy, and also a member of the company’s Diversity Council which works to ensure all employees feel valued, respected and engaged.
“The company provided this grant for us to allocate to a non-profit organization that supports our values. On behalf of our Diversity Council, we are honored to support the United Way of South Hampton Roads, Mission United and veterans in need who’ve given so much to our country.”
Tanya Canty, Senior Director of Mission United, says the donation will make a big difference in the lives of her clients, like Abraham Smith.
“We ran out of funding about two months ago. That truly pained me. Many of our veterans had to cancel their doctor appointments.”
Canty goes on to explain that everyone can’t afford public transportation in Hampton Roads.
“We have an aging Veteran population, many disabled and on a fixed income” said Canty. “A 30-day bus pass cost $70. For someone with limited income, that can be a deal breaker.”
To learn more about Mission United and how you can help, visit https://unitedwayshr.org/what-we-do/mission-united/get-help/, or call (757) 858-7777.