A group of volunteers from a nonprofit organization called Volunteer for Veterans in rural Arizona is preparing for the possibility that they may not be able to support their vets in a timely manner.
The volunteers, all volunteers in their late 20s and early 30s, all work as security guards for the Arizona-based veterans organization.
“We’ve had some problems in the past with some of our security guards who have been involved in crimes, and we’ve had a few of those in the last year,” says Jessica Gattar, the group’s volunteer coordinator.
“But our focus is on the vets who need us most.”
A lack of resources, the lack of time, and the lack to make the best use of the volunteer time is one of the primary reasons volunteers say they don’t want to continue.
“It’s frustrating that they are having to rely on us as their main source of income,” says Gattor.
And in many cases, it’s because of the financial struggles of the volunteers themselves.
Gattor says that while she understands why some of the groups they work for aren’t doing as well as they would like, they are struggling financially.
One of the challenges of working for a non-profit is that you have to be able and willing to work long hours and be flexible, so that the money is available to pay the staff, the rent, and food.
They also have to figure out how to get through the summer without running out of money, which can be tough.
So they’re looking for ways to keep their expenses under control.
“We have to think about how we can get a better quality of life,” says one of Gattori’s volunteers.
Another volunteer says that she and her husband are “working on a plan” to get a job but that they’re still in the process of getting their paperwork together.
For Gattora, who works as a security guard, the problem isn’t just the lack the money, but also the lack time to keep working.
While she appreciates the organization’s efforts to keep them in business, she worries about the possibility of them not being able to keep the people working there in line.
It’s not just the staff who are struggling.
“There are some of us who are out of work for months at a time,” she says.
“Some of us have been out of our jobs for years.
Some of us are in jail.
There are a lot of folks who have no income, no jobs, and are in a state of limbo.”
And it doesn’t help when you are in that state,” she adds.
A few weeks after she gave a talk on the issue, Gattur was arrested on charges of aggravated battery and criminal mischief.
She was also charged with assault and battery of a police officer.
Gattur says she is currently being held in a mental health facility in Mesa, Arizona.
She has been charged with felony assault and is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday, August 29th.
The Phoenix Police Department, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and a Phoenix-area sheriff’s office spokesperson have all said that they were unable to comment on the case.
Read more: Gretchen’s story: What happens to veteran suicides?
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