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Local female veteran, single mom bounces back after losing job and getting COVID-19

Posted at 5:33 AM, Jun 10, 2020

MILWAUKEE -- — Crystal Euclide wasn't prepared for what the pandemic would do to her family. She's a single mom with four children.

"No childcare, no help with the kids. I still haven't received a stimulus check for my children," Euclide said.

Euclide is also a veteran. She served as a cook in the Army and was stationed in Milwaukee.

Life was hard before the health crisis, but then she lost her job and the hits kept coming.

"I myself ended up sick with COVID from March 17 to April 6, so trying to take care of the kids and not being able to go anywhere and making sure we had things was a little hard," Euclide continued.

Euclide reached out to the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative, a non-profit serving at-risk veterans throughout southeastern Wisconsin. Debbie Buchanan is the executive director. She is also an army veteran.

"We knew we were going to have veterans out there that are not only homeless but were at risk. The VA was pretty much shut down and so we developed a crisis line that veterans can contact us after hours and on the weekends and Crystal happened to be one of those veterans who reached out to us," Buchanan said.

Euclide and her kids out in Waukesha needed the basics like groceries and gas. One of the programs of the agency is specifically geared toward helping female veterans. It's called WOVIN or Women Veterans Initiative.

"Emergency food, toys, bikes for the children, gift cards for Pick 'n Save -- whatever she needed to get her through that time of crisis," said Buchanan.

Euclide admitted making the call to MHVI was difficult.

"It is pretty hard because it's your pride stands in the way, it's like well, do I really want to? And then it's like you know what, I need to," Euclide said.

"Why is it especially hard for veterans to say, 'I need help?'" Kristin Byrne asked Buchanan.

"Well, I mean we're trained to figure it out you know from the day one you step into basic training it's like you need to learn to survive with as little as you have," explained Buchanan.

"It's somewhat of a stigma especially for women because we're expected to be resourceful and be able to hold it together," she continued.

"We want them to know we don't have the red tape here. It's not about when did you serve? how long did you serve? If you put that uniform on and took an oath and we can reach you, we will serve you with everything that we have available," Buchanan said proudly.

"There's absolutely no judgment here. I've called here for good times. I've called here for bad times. No matter what there is someone to talk to," said Euclide.

Male and female veterans at risk during COVID-19, can call MHVI at 414-257-4111 and ask for Cassandra.

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