Donald Kroner fills out paperwork with SVdP staff memeber Jackie Solares.

Surprising Twist of Fate Saves Vet from Severe Hardship

Phoenix Vet Involved in Car Accident Finds Help in Unexpected Place

It was a typical Saturday evening for Jackie Solares, St. Vincent de Paul Special Ministries Program Coordinator, and her husband. They were headed to Walgreens on 24th St. and Indian School, in central Phoenix. As they pulled up to the building, she noticed an accident had just happened across the street. An elderly man stood on the sidewalk looking very dazed and was bleeding from his forehead. Jackie also noticed that he was impeccably dressed.

“I stood there for a bit looking at him, then I said a little prayer and walked into the store. I was worried and felt empathy for him, because he looked very lost and he was alone.”

A couple of weeks later, she was assigned a new client in the Special Ministries department, where she works to help those in need. It was a 71 year-old veteran, requesting financial assistance, as he recently fell into some financial trouble.

Jackie thought he looked familiar, but couldn’t figure out why. When asked how he had gotten into this situation, he shared with Jackie that he had been involved in a car accident only a couple of weeks before, and had to stop working because of his injuries – cracked ribs and eight staples in his head. Jackie looked over the accident report and suddenly realized this was the very man she had seen on the side of the road.

“As I was looking at it, the whole scene flashed through my mind. I knew it was him.” 

Before the accident, Donald was hard working and self-sustainable. He worked as a security guard and received social security. But afterward, he found himself without a job and several bills coming in at once. With no family in Phoenix, Donald was in a precarious position.

“No one knows when they can get into trouble financially,” said Jackie. “Even if everything is going well and you’re supporting yourself, it can happen out of the blue. My boss always says that when she watches the news and something bad happens to someone, she always thinks, ‘I hope we can help them.’ I tell her, ‘We already have so much work, why would you think that?’ But it’s funny, because I had said a prayer myself for Donald the night of the accident, and through a strange twist of fate, I got to see that prayer be answered.” 

While in the hospital, Donald’s security guard card expired and he was unable to pay the fee to renew it. His monthly rent, car payment, and utility bill were all due at the same time. 

So he decided to drive through downtown Phoenix looking for churches that might be able to help him. He had never been to St. Vincent de Paul. He saw our sign from the street and thought it was worth a try.

By reaching out to donors and finding the right program funding, Jackie was able to help Donald with these expenses, including the renewal of his guard card.

“It was fate,” said Donald, who is now in the process of interviewing for a new security guard job at the Veterans Administration building in Phoenix. 

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