Steve learned about our CompeerCORPS Veterans program through the Rochester Veterans Outreach Center. And while he’s awaiting a one-to-one match with CompeerCORPS, Steve is not only taking advantage of events and activities Compeer has to offer those awaiting matches, but has become an eloquent ambassador—a “cheerleader,” as he calls himself— for not only CompeerCORPS but all our programs, services, and people. “I’m proud to say ‘I’m with Compeer,’” he says.
A U.S. Army Veteran stationed in Germany, Washington State, and New Jersey during the 1970s, Steve trained to be a military photographer, but served the country in an array of ways during his service. He also spent a year in Israel, in 1990, having followed a dream to experience that part of the world. He obtained Israeli citizenship and as a result had to serve in the Israeli military for a year—something Steve willingly did.
Steve exudes deep appreciation for his life and his community. He prides himself on being super busy, and on his willingness and ability to be there for people. “I give a lot of support,” Steve says. “But sometimes support-givers need to be takers and need to receive support too. There’s a fine line between giving and receiving.”
He adds, “Especially now with all these returning vets, and many with PTSD and not knowing how to get back into society at home, I try to help them understand that there are services available.”
So while Steve is considered a CompeerCORPS client awaiting a one to one match, he embodies the Compeer mantra that “clients” are not just receivers of service– they are also very much contributors to the life and success of the Compeer Rochester organization, programs, volunteers, and staff.
When asked about the kind of person who would be a perfect CompeerCORPS match for him, Steve predictably replied, “Anybody who gets me is going to be lucky because I have as much to give as to receive.”
But Steve is patient and his positive attitude is incessant. He says he feels supported even though he’s not matched yet. And once he is matched, he’s confident he’ll have a new unconditional friend, even if their respective busy lives sometimes take them in different directions. “A person cannot have too many support systems in their life,” Steve says, “but the quality of the friendship is more important than the quantity.” He adds: “Friends are like stars. They are there, forever, whether you can see them or not.”