March 31, 2014
A Charlottesville woman is doing all she can to make a difference for veterans of Vietnam wars. In this week's Stephanie's Heroes, CBS19's Stephanie Satchell is featuring Mary James who's helping to heal veterans with a free counseling service called COVER.
COVER is located on West Main Street in Charlottesville and it stands for Community Outreach for Vietnam Era Returnee's.
The office space may be small at COVER but Mary James is making a big difference there for veterans.
She started the non-profit organization and has been pouring her heart and soul into it for many years.
From helping veterans deal with physical injuries due to the war to changes in mental health like PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and preventing suicides, she's providing free counseling to those who might otherwise go untreated.
For years, the VA or U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs has been instrumental in providing funding, but now its cutting a huge percentage which puts COVER in danger.
"It's a daily struggle. It's really what it means ...just to try to keep open. But when you put that against what they (veterans) have to struggle with everyday, it's really in some ways a small problem but a challenging one," said Mary James, Therapist at COVER.
Although, Mary James doesn't think of herself as a hero for what she does, many others do.
But James says the veterans are the real heroes and she's just doing her part to give back.
Although, James provides this service for free, it does take money to run.
James currently counsels 50 veterans, but right now there's only enough funding for about 15 of them.
So, COVER recently started a fundraiser on the website Gofundme.com. The goal is to raise $6,000.
That money will help them pay the rent at the office space for one whole year.