A Transitional Living Program For Female Veterans
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Guidinglight House, Inc. was formed in 2014 after observing years of VA neglect with our Veterans, both male and female. We all watched the horror stories of our veterans not receiving the help they needed after returning from serving our country. Women veterans especially had difficulties when returning because of coming back to children that were born while serving or even from being sexually assaulted in the military. With 2.2 million female veterans we couldn’t standby and say any longer that “someone” should do something about it. We are that “someone”.
We had our grand opening in June of 2017 after a 3-year battle with the township and our neighbors. We were approved for a class 1 shelter for single female veterans and license with the state of New Jersey. Mike (a co-founder) took $50,000 out of his retirement to startup the nonprofit. Mike and Julie (a co-founder) both have always had a heart to help others in the community. Julie lent a significant amount of money to help fund the start up of a local church prior to the formation of Guidinglight House; she was involved with youth in the community and helped a local community development corporation serve the public. Mike was always helping the sick, elderly or local churches with free electrical services because they couldn’t afford an electrician. They both always had a heart to serve others. They are both certified behavioral life coaches and are always actively serving the community in which they live.
When Guidinglight House opened in June of 2017 – the Asbury Park Press interviewed the Lipari’s and featured the article on the front page of the A.P.P. on June 19th. Within 1 week of the article being posted Marie Bieksha a veteran who served our country from 1982-1986 saw the article and called GLH to see if she would qualify, at that time as long as she could pass a psyche test she would. She was living in south Jersey somewhere and didn’t even have enough money to pay for tolls. We were able to get her back up to our area and we put her up in a hotel for a couple of days until all the paperwork was completed. The 1st day she arrived at GLH we fed her a huge meal, enough for that night and 2 more days. Julie took her out food shopping the next day. Marie told us weeks later that because she owned a home the VA and Soldier On would not help her. Marie had a very troubled marriage, in and out of the court system. She also has (2)children. (1) daughter whom Marie said the husband lives with and (1) 28-year-old disabled son Nick whom Marie told us the father kid napped and was living with the father. It took weeks for us to understand Marie’s story. We learned that Marie owns a home in Howell, NJ but as she put it, it was inhabitable. We could have discharged her then but we didn’t. Marie lived in the 800 sq. ft. apartment from June 2017 until October 2017. GLH helped her find a lawyer who was helping Marie with her divorce. Julie worked with Marie on a daily basis trying to make her confortable and supplying any needs she had. GLH paid several car payments that she was behind on. Julie went with her to all the meetings with the attorney and helped her fill-out any paperwork including the case information statement the Marie couldn’t do by herself. Julie faxed and emailed all paperwork the attorney needed. She spent hundreds of hours with Marie trying to help her get though this tough time. GLH received no funding from any state, federal, local or private donations for Marie. She lived there without paying rent or utility bills. There was no cost to her at all for anything, except she paid for her own cigarettes, hair and nail appointments as she has income from a pension she is receiving.
In October 2017 her husband who is living with the daughter in Monmouth County somewhere, took their son to a doctor appointment and Marie showed up. As soon as her son saw Marie he began to cry, the husband handed Marie the paperwork for their son and left, leaving their son with Marie to be responsible for his care.
When Marie came back to the facility and told Mike and Julie what happened and because GLH is for single woman veterans who are transitioning out of the military, they immediately went over to Marie’s home that she owns in Howell, NJ and repaired showers that were broken, secured new locks on doors, cleaned up toilets that overflowed with waste, hung new curtains and made the home habitable again for her and her son.
They continued to help Marie and her son Nick. They had them over for dinners and took them to concerts. The Jackson police were kind enough to get tickets so they could take them to see the Transiberian Orchestra and they brought them food. For Christmas they had nowhere to go so Mike and Julie had them over Mikes sisters home to celebrate with their entire family – whom gave gifts to both Marie and Nick. Mike’s brother in law gave Nick his favorite leather NY Rangers jacket!! They took Marie to Great Adventure. In the meantime they still continued to talk with and help Marie on a daily basis sometimes for hours at a time.
In February of 2018 the Howell Police were called to Marie’s home. That event triggered a negative response that spiraled out of control for Nick. He began to run through the neighborhood, physically fight with his mother, destroy the home by breaking windows, wiping feces all over the place and running water until he flooded the room. Every time he destroyed the home Mike and Julie would go over and help her clean it up. He once attempted to throw a huge rock at Julie’s car. Thank God he missed. He had been in an out of almost every hospital in the area. Every time the hospital called Marie to pick up her son, she would not call back until Julie did a three-way call with her. She would not pick him up unless Julie was with her. She would not speak to anyone unless Julie was with her, including her own lawyer. Every email, phone call and office visit, she begged Julie to be involved.
Marie’s lawyer sent Marie an email that there was a meeting that Marie needed to attend to try and come to a resolution to get her some funds through the divorce, but Marie refused to go to the meeting, refused to sign the paperwork and would not even try to negotiate anything that the attorneys offered her. Julie said she would help Marie come up with a plan, but Marie started screaming and cursing at Julie. Julie had no other alternative but to send an email to Marie’s attorney letting her know that Julie would not longer be able to help Marie. As she has her son who cannot live at the home and if she doesn’t want to negotiate a settlement for the divorce, there is nothing else for Julie to do. Prior to this last attempt to help Marie, her lawyer filed a motion to drop Marie as a client. This lawyer worked at half of her normal rate and still has not received one penny to help resolve this issue.
On May 24th when Marie found out that Julie, Mike and Guidinglight House will no longer be involved in her case she decided to trash, slander and make accusations that are false. She does not have one piece of documentation to back up any accusation. Some of our supporters reached out to her but she just continues to make accusations with no proof. The founders of Guidinglight House have invested their time, talents and resources to put together a program to help our woman veterans’ transition from the military back to civilian life. Even though Marie wasn’t a transitioning veteran –they still did whatever they could to help her because she was a “veteran”. The organization has since changed its policy to include veterans who have not been a civilian for more that 5 years. Marie is reaching out on Facebook, twitter and instagram pleading people to donate to her cause. Marie Bieksha is not homeless. Her and her husband own assets and we pray Marie finds the help she needs to finally find peace in her life. If you Google her name her address comes up at 145 Darien Rd Howell, NJ.
Guidinglight House, Inc. has a board of 8 members and everything is done with the highest integrity. They went well beyond anything that any human would have done to help two people. The only thing Guidinglight House did wrong was to love more than their “nonprofit organizational” boundaries had and take on the hurt that human nature had left behind for Marie and Nick. GLH will march on to help our woman veterans get the help they need.
We apologize for the inconvenience if she has contacted you and if anyone has any questions please feel free to email us at Guidinglight.firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone us at 732-534-6055.
Mary Hoffman – Vice President – Guidinglight House, Inc.