Shepherd’s House got a welcome shot in the arm Nov. 11 — Veterans Day — when Ruoff Mortgage President/CEO Mark Music presented a check for $100,000.
Music presented the check to four veteran clients representing the veterans transitional center at 519 Tennessee Ave. in central Fort Wayne.
Music, who has served on the Shepherd’s House board of directors for the past four years and as its treasurer since 2018, remarked that “this has been a strange year. It has been particularly difficult for not-for-profit organizations. Especially here at Shepherd’s House,” he said, “whose clients are veterans who have underlying health issues. This check will go specifically to help make up for the shortfalls and to help cover increased costs during the pandemic.”
He invited other businesses and individuals to “step up” as a thank you to these veterans. Individuals and organizations can donate to Shepherd’s House online at shepherdshouse.org/giving.
99% of the organization’s fundraising activities were canceled this year because of the pandemic. The facility was forced to lock down at various times to protect its 30 clients.
Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, a veteran himself, addressed the attendees briefly, thanked the veterans for their service and encouraged continued support for Shepherd’s House.
Lonnie and Barbara Cox, who started Shepherd’s House 22 years ago, said it would have been catastrophic if COVID-19 had invaded the facility. They installed protocols immediately when it hit and began disinfecting everything and everyone was required to wear masks. The cost of disinfectant topped $2,000. Lonnie said they bought six Xboxes “to keep the guys from going nuts.”
One of the veterans came in contact with an individual outside Shepherd’s House who tested positive so the entire population was quarantined for 14 days. In addition, all 30 residents were tested, at a cost of $4,500. None of the veterans had contracted the virus.
Shepherd’s House, which moved into its present location in 2004, has helped more than 2,100 veterans. It has achieved an 85% success rate and receives annual recognition and certification from the Veterans Administration.
Barbara Cox serves as executive director of Shepherd’s House. Jane Surbeck is president.