Liberty Manor was organized in 2006 as a 501©3 non-profit organization with the objective of promoting the developmental and social needs of veterans who have served our country and fought for our independence, but fallen victim to homelessness. It has been determined that individuals who make up the homeless veteran population have exhausted all reasonable alternatives that will address their immediate financial or residential needs. This initiative serves the most deserving yet overlooked individuals of our community - veterans. It has been estimated that 7% of the homeless population in America are Veterans and contrary to the perceptions that our returning veterans are well-supported, many go without the services they need due to a lack of governmental resources as the Veterans Administration does not provide housing for veterans. The mission of Liberty Manor is to provide transitional, supported housing to honorably discharged veterans and establishing long-term objectives designed to attribute to self-sufficiency.
A glimpse into the lives of these brave,often unsung heroes offers all of us perspective, as these former servicemen are warriors, heroes in their own right; they serve as a reminder of how good life is in America and how fortunate we are to be Americans. This initiative
offers us a great opportunity to pay homage in a significant way to those who have unselfishly answered the call to duty by serving in our United States military.
As a result of the implementation of the Liberty Manor initiative, we have successfully transitioned the following veterans from a homeless state and prospered them into self-sufficiency:
♦ Harold, an eighty-six year old, World War II combat
veteran, a survivor of our worlds greatest generation - lived at the Salvation Army, sleeping on a cot with sixty civilians, many housed at the shelter were still active in their substance abuse addictions. While at the Salvation Army he was required to vacate every morning at 5am with all of his belongings until time to line up again for admission the next day in hopes of securing a bed for
another night. Harold was victim of homelessness due to identity fraud when his Social Security checks were
suspended. Not knowing how long this veteran would remain indigent, no one was willing to help him without the necessary funds to sustain his residency.
Liberty Manor received a call regarding the veteran’s predicament when Connie graciously opened her heart and home to this deserving veteran. Harold’s Social Security was reinstated though he continued to remain at Liberty Manor for another seven months - serving as Manager. Interestingly, when Harold moved he only moved a half a block away from the place he grew to consider his
home - Liberty Manor.
♦ Arnett, a Vietnam veteran came to Liberty Manor as a result of failing health. Arnett had been shot during his tenure as an Army veteran in Viet Nam; he received a Purple Heart for his military service. Because Arnett could earn more income by working he declined a VA pension for his disability. However, Arnett’s health degenerated rapidly at fifty years of age and he became incapable of maintaining full time gainful employment for the first time. Due to pride, Arnett continued to preserve without asking for help…until he became homeless. VA pensions usually require over a year to be approved and in most cases, the veteran will become homeless before the
pension is approved. Liberty Manor offered Arnett quality housing until which time he decided to transition into independent living.
♦ John T. a veteran who suffered four cardiac surgeries
at forty-seven years old! Many of us would be in the same financial state if our careers came to an abrupt end before retirement age. John remained with Liberty Manor for four years.
♦ Tim T is a veteran who served in the United States Navy during a tour in Desert Storm. While serving in a mission, he was shot down in a helicopter that crashed in the Black Sea, which left Tim severely disabled. As a
result of the mishap, Tim sustained permanent back injuries and fifty percent neurological damage. Tim was medically discharged by the United States Navy and
returned back to the United States – but lacked any means in which to support himself. This American hero was left to scramble to make ends meet, living under the bridge and on the streets in Tampa with others that were homeless. It was over a year before Tim was approved for a 100% veteran service connected pension. We are honored that Tim chose to remain at Liberty which has now been over five years.
♦ While serving in Vietnam, Benny was injured as a
result of a land mine explosion which resulted in considerable injuries to his right leg, requiring fourteen surgeries. Benny had made the ultimate sacrifice by serving his country; he gave so much, only to be returned to the United States broken and disabled. Although Benny had been approved and receiving a veterans pension check when he arrived at Liberty Manor, his VA disability checks had not been forwarded for a period of three months after he made a move from Kansas to Florida. Benny became homeless because he lacked the necessary funds to sustain a residence until the VA could get his financial affairs in order. Liberty Manor was the only organization that took a chance on Benny by
providing housing, clothing and food for months. Benny, like many other disabled veterans should NEVER be homeless. If not for a place like Liberty Manor, this highly decorated veteran would have been HOMELESS!
♦ Steve D. was a Vietnam veteran that arrived at
Liberty Manor with little “ambition” to procure fulltime gainful employment. Before giving up on the resident, Liberty Manor’s Executive Director, Jeff Luddeke agreed to work a day labor ticket with Steve in an effort to inspire the resident to work. This took place during the extreme temperatures during the middle of summer in the Florida heat. The day labor ticket consisted of digging a deep hole over the course of two hot summer days under the most inhuman conditions. At the time, Jeff had been diagnosed
with cancer; however it was Jeff’s personal conviction that he would not request more of our residents than he was willing to perform if asked. When the task was completed, Jeff had gained Steve’s confidence. Steve became relentless in scheduling interviews for employment and within a short period of time, Steve procured employment as a City Bus Driver. Steve gained financial independence
and was able to enjoy the rewards of a comfortable salary that reaped multiple benefits.
♦ Lastly, former Staff Sergeant Garza who served ten years as a US Army Ranger with four combat tours, became homeless as a result of injuries that surfaced rather abruptly; he was depressed, downtrodden, and virtually hopeless. Due to the multiple “jumps” he was required to perform as a Ranger he suffered multiple injuries to the extent the VA was administering morphine to him three times a day! He had no chance of procuring fulltime gainful employment - primarily because he couldn’t pass a drug screen, he would be considered a liability in anyone’s estimation. Garza was scheduled for multiple surgeries on his shoulders, hands and
knees and has steel platelets in his neck due to the injuries he sustained while serving in the military. Liberty Manor assessed Garza for a non-service connected disability which he was approved in a mere two months. This hero receives a deserving pension today
as a result of the efforts of Liberty Manor. Liberty Manor also procured furniture, an automobile and everything necessary to maintain a household when Garza transitioned from Liberty Manor. Fortunately, today Garza enjoys independence and self-sufficiency as a result of the efforts by an initiative that began with only one individual who today provides four facilities to fifty veterans.
It is only through partnerships that we are able to strengthen our community by providing these deserving veterans with some of the basic resources and services that will make a positive difference in their future.
Some of the veterans greatest needs are rent sponsorships, refridgerator, trash compactor, bus passes, gift cards for gas/restaurants, automobiles, used/new bikes which would give them the opportunity to go to the VA hospital for medical treatments and electric wheelchairs, They can also benefit by donated towels, twin bed linens, blankets, canned goods, tools, pots/pans, silverware, sodas are a real luxury, coffee/creamer/sugar, toilet paper, paper towels, dishwashing or laundry detergent, garbage bags almost anything that comes with establishing a household!
We need a Grant writer, roofer, Central A/C and air
handlers. We have an outstanding loan for Fire Suppression Equipment in the amount of $85,000.00 as a result of a fire code violation. Please consider of plea for help by calling Jeff Luddeke (813) 352-7856
Let us remember that only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you - Jesus Christ and the American soldier, one died for your soul; the other died for your freedom.
On behalf of our Board of Directors, staff and our veterans, we thank you in advance for your consideration by assisting us in the delivery of services and needs for these honorable men.
PO Box 274081
Business of the Year Finalist
Chamber of Commerce 2011Florida State Senate
Hillsborough County Veterans Council Award 2011
Member VFW, American Legion, Veterans Advocacy Council,Veterans Affairs Council,Cambridge Who’s Who Among Executives, Professionals and Entrepreneurs, Tampa Bay Buccaneer Community Quarterback Award 2008
Arthur Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist INC. Magazine
Who's Who in Executives and Businesses and Who’s Who of American Women