Video by Allyson Morin, Article by Matt Benedetti
Under normal conditions, Jayme Besse juggles whatever challenges come his way. A few months ago, however, the New Bedford resident found himself in an abnormal circumstance. In a mere 48 hours, he and his family faced eviction from their home
Besse, 34, has served in the Massachusetts Army National Guard for 18 years and confronted his share of challenges during his military career. As a member of the 164th Transportation Battalion. Besse deployed to Iraq twice, Kuwait once and was activated for several domestic emergencies. The veteran staff sergeant (E-6) prides himself on his keen attention to detail and preparedness for any contingency.
After contacting several organizations without result, a fellow guardsman suggested he contact the VFW. Although skeptical, Besse called Eric Segundo, State Commander of the VFW in Massachusetts.
“Everyone I called, my situation didn’t meet their guidelines,” said Besse. “Then I spoke to Eric Segundo at the VFW.”
Besse was only two days from eviction when he made the call.
“Right off the bat, he asked what the VFW can do to help and put me in touch with Bill LeBeau,” he said. Lebeau is the State Adjutant and Chief Operating Officer at the VFW.
In those two days, Besse said the VFW found him a place to live and gave him peace of mind for the first time in months.
“Relax, focus on your job and family, we are going to help,” said LeBeau to Besse early in the process.
The caring attitude and instant connection found at the VFW made him feel comfortable opening up about his challenges, Besse said.
“Relief doesn’t cover it. It was like holding your breath underwater and then finally getting your head above water,” Besse said.
Besse, who works as an MIS Technical Support Specialist with CVS, learned a lot about the VFW during the crisis.
“It is not just a place to go for a cheap beer, the VFW is an organization that invests their time and resources into seeing veterans survive and thrive,” said Besse.
He advises veterans to look to the VFW in good times and bad. Any veterans, regardless of service, stateside or overseas, members or not, can seek assistance from the VFW.
“I’ve been to a lot of VFW posts and never realized they had the resources and programs that they do,” said Besse. “Knowing about the VFW makes me feel like I can work hard but if there is something I can’t do on my own, I know the VFW will always be there,” he said.
“I don’t think I have ever been so grateful,” he added.
Segundo was glad the VFW could help a Massachusetts veteran during a difficult period.
“We strive to always do what we can to help our veterans and live up to our motto, No one does more for veterans,” said Segundo.
Besse, his family saved from homelessness, says he wants all veterans in need to be aware of the services the VFW provides. To learn more or get involved, please visit www.vfwma.com.