Since being founded in 2014, Embracing Our Veterans has assisted about 600 Veterans and their families in Crawford and Erie Counties who were in need of a hand up.
Co-founders Kim Lengling and Tina Schiefelbein started Embracing Our Veterans in April of 2014 after they were introduced while both trying to help local Veterans with their individual strengths. Tina Schiefelbein, the spouse of an Air Force Veteran, had established the Lending an Ear program through her business Affordable Care Hearing Aid but wanted to expand to create what is now Hearing for Heroes to allow Veterans and their spouses to afford state-of-the-art hearing aids. Kim Lengling, an Air Force Veteran, was already an avid advocate for Veterans through multiple organizations, and she was happy to bring her marketing and public speaking skills to the forming organization. With Kim in Crawford County and Tina in Erie County, the two dedicated themselves to connecting all local, honorably discharged Veterans who called with the resources that they needed - everything from haircuts to healthcare.
The focus of the organization was on providing referral resources to Veterans and their families for services they may not otherwise qualify for through traditional means. We built, and are still growing, a trustworthy network of service providers, which include businesses, veteran organizations, individuals and many other civic organizations to help and work with our Veteran community by providing services/products at a discount or no cost. Dedicated to helping veterans and their family members in their time of need, Embracing Our Veterans Founders Tina Schiefelbein and Kim Lengling have a true passion for helping veterans and their families. Both are small business owners and are members of, or founding members of, other non-profit organizations. Both have a passion for helping people and go above and beyond to be sure those they help are taken care of with the respect they deserve.
As the nonprofit grew, the operational focus of the organization shifted from providing referrals to helping homeless Veterans and their families during their transition into stable housing. Once homeless Veterans find housing, the apartment is often empty, and the Veteran often has nothing to fill it. We help transition those Veterans from homelessness to having a home with a warm bed. We continue to assist Veterans and the families with difficult to emergency situations, connecting them to valuable community resources, and yes, the occasional haircut referral.
We are excited to see what the future will bring as we work on updating our office and storage facilities in 2019. We are also proud to continue building relationships with local businesses and nonprofits to best serve our Veterans and their families.