Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Service Before Self Podcast

May 2, 2022

Colonel retired Sam Whitehurst, your host, welcomes Bruce Buckley to the second part of an insightful conversation about Veteran homelessness. Bruce is the CEO of Soldier On; he is one of the leading subject matter experts on the challenges impacting homeless veterans. Bruce has been dedicating his career to finding solutions to assist veterans and their families who find themselves in that situation.


In today’s episode, Bruce keeps sharing the work done by Soldier On which is a great model that needs to be replicated across the country. He talks about how they dealt with the pandemic at its beginning and the great help they received from the Supportive Services for Veteran’s Families (SSVF). Bruce dives deep into the crucial importance to Veterans of belonging to a community and he highlights the spectacular job Soldier On’s staff does to make it all happen.

By the end of this episode, Bruce shares his distress caused by the potential closing of the VA Medical Center in Leeds, Massachusetts, you can help prevent this from happening by raising your voice! (links below)


Key Takeaways:

[3:19] Bruce shares some of the lessons learned from the pandemic.

[5:58] Bruce talks about how fortunate they were to have a good relationship with VA Western Massachusetts.

[8:47] Bruce speaks about the role that the Supportive Services for Veteran’s Families (SSVF) plays in Soldier On.

[12:04] Bruce explains the vital importance of being part of a community for Veterans and how the staff is a very big resource apart from the housing.

[12:39] Bruce shares on the peer program.

[14:49] Is there a spike in veteran homelessness?

[16:05] Bruce talks about their support in regards to financial literacy.

[17:32] What are Soldier On’s plans for the future?

[20:09] The VA recently issued a report announcing they will shut some facilities down in order to relocate them; how does this impact veterans who need those services?

[26:42] Colonel Sam shares his experience visiting the Soldier On Program.

[27:30] Bruce shows his gratitude to all the staff that makes the program work.

[29:40] Colonel Sam shares some additional information about the potential closing of the VA Medical Centre in Leeds Massachusetts.


Mentioned in this episode:

Dixon Center: Reaching America

At Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services, we believe our veterans and military families can succeed where they live.

Dixon Center is named after Staff Sergeant Donnie Dixon, who was killed in action on September 29, 2007, in Iraq. Staff Sergeant Dixon was a father, husband, and Soldier who always placed the mission first and the safety of his fellow Soldiers above his own. Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services stands as a testament to his example and leadership.

Dixon Center on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram


Listen to “Episode 16: Ending Veteran Homelessness. Part 1 with Bruce Buckley”


Make sure your voice is heard about the VA's recommendation to close the Northhampton, Leeds, VA Medical Center. Please contact your Congressperson or Senator or reach out to Secretary Patrick Murphy, nominee to be the chair of the Asset and Infrastructure Review Commission, and let them know how you feel.


Soldier On


Tweetables and quotes:

“The more we build the more communities want to recreate what we built.”


“Soldier On’s plan is to keep on listening to the needs of Veterans and their families and to stay strong in the work towards stopping veteran homelessness, one veteran at a time.”


“If they close the VA, it will become a ghost town of about 40 buildings.”