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  • Writer's picturePanhandle Warrior Partnership

Warming Hearts: Community Rallies to Keep Veteran From Freezing

When winter arrives, so does the inevitable rise in electricity bills, placing an added strain on the fixed income of many elderly individuals. The burden of keeping warm can quickly become overwhelming, especially as inflation drives up the cost of living. This scenario recently became an unfortunate reality for one veteran who reached out to Panhandle Warrior Partnership (PWP) for support.

Douglas Richards is a Vietnam-era Army veteran (1969-1970). Due to a medical condition, Douglas gets cold quickly, so his wife has to turn the heat up higher than usual to ensure Douglas is comfortable. This led to rising electric costs, which Douglas and his wife could not afford on their limited income. After being two months behind on their electric bill, the couple was in jeopardy of having their electricity shut off. Douglas, frantic, contacted the Pensacola Vet Center, which put him in contact with PWP Case Coordinator Melissa Rust.

“Thank you so much for helping us! You worked so hard on our case, and you really came through!” – Douglas Richards, Army Veteran

After speaking with Douglas, Melissa contacted over 30 local churches to coordinate monetary support for the couple. Thankfully, with the help of 3 churches, Melissa secured the money to cover Douglas’ past-due bills. One of the churches also purchased Douglas a heated blanket to stay warm and keep his heating costs down. Douglas and his wife were so relieved to have such incredible community support in his time of need.


Too many veterans and their families are suffering – to the point of taking their lives. Our passionate donors empower the lives of veterans, their families, and caregivers through our upstream approach to reach a veteran before a crisis occurs.


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