Friday Feature: Heath Smith

Soldiering on
Heath's story

Your name: Heath Smith

Your role at Volunteers of America Michigan: Senior Veteran Employment Specialist for the Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program.

What brought you to this position? A co-worker of mine posted about a job opening with Volunteers of America Michigan that would be helping the Veteran population. 

What is your biggest takeaway from working with Volunteers of America Michigan? I feel that the homeless veteran population, and the overall homeless population, is extremely hidden from the community. Growing up in Owosso, I never knew there were homeless camps,  “Tent cities,” moving all over the city. When I started in my current position, it was extremely eye-opening to see the reality of the homeless veteran population; I was shocked it even existed. Even more shocking, Shiawassee County, as well as a couple of the surrounding counties do not have any sort of shelter for the homeless. 

What is your biggest challenge in this position? I wish I was able to help the Veteran population more. Seeing homeless veterans give up on themselves after hitting rock bottom is one of the hardest parts of my job.

Where is your dream vacation spot? Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. 

What is your favorite book? “Discipline equals Freedom” by Jocko Willink.

How do you spend your time outside of the office? My four and a half year old daughter. I also have an initiative outside of work that I’m starting that works on connecting veterans. We host a coffee and donut meeting on the last Saturday of every month in Owosso. It allows veterans from the area to share stories with other veterans, as well as ask any questions. I also spend a lot of my time with my beautiful girlfriend, catching her up on Game of Thrones before the new season begins. As soon as the weather permits, golf, lots and lots of golf.