MACV Veteran Story: Eileen Fahrenkrug
Navy Veteran Eileen Fahrenkrug has lived with a personal motto for decades: You work with what you got. What most people see as a practical approach to solving problems also lends itself to generating creative ways to address each Veteran’s needs and circumstances. In Eileen’s case, this attitude led her to move into a 14-foot box truck in May 2021 to leave Texas and return to her real home, Minnesota.
Fahrenkrug never planned to live in Texas indefinitely. She relocated in 2019 to help her mom through some health issues. But when COVID-19 hit in early 2020, the two were essentially stuck in the state for the next year. Once travel bans started to lift and vaccines became readily available, Fahrenkrug came up with a plan to get out of Texas and come back to the state she called home. “This is where I needed to be.”
Here is where the creativity comes in. The Veteran downsized her belongings to fit everything in the box truck, then drove north in June 2021. After living in Minnesota for a month, the Veteran immediately reached out to her County Veteran Services Officer. The CVSO connected Eileen to MACV Case Manager Hosea Hall, an employment and housing caseworker extraordinaire for the Rochester area.
From there, progress was swift. Hosea connected Fahrenkrug to housing benefits, food assistance, and other services to stabilize her basic needs. This set of priorities resulted in securing a HUD-VASH voucher in record time, assistance navigating the VA healthcare system, and even a clothing allowance so Eileen could purchase some clothes that fit following a dramatic weight loss.
Then the real triumph took form. Collaboration between Southern Region Leader Sadie Rezac and Hosea Hall led to finding the perfect housing opportunity for Eileen, who moved into a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in Rochester a week ago. All in all, Eileen Fahrenkrug transitioned from living in an uninsulated truck to securing long-term affordable housing in less than two months.
“Every time I reached out with a need, MACV addressed it in 48 hours,” Fahrenkrug shares. “There is so much they can do.” She now encourages every Veteran with whom she interacts to seek out Veteran-focused service providers like CVSOs and MACV.
When MACV comes across Veterans like Eileen, individuals resolved to get their lives back on track and relentlessly pursue stability, we celebrate the opportunity to work with them. The incredible discipline Eileen Fahrenkrug shows in her approach to life inspires the team who came together to support her, and we thank this Veteran for her faith in us!