From colonel to case worker: Serving veterans dailyAfter 31 years in the military, Col. Jan Apo was ready to assimilate back into civilian life with her family, including her three children. She was unsure of a new career but eager to work with an organization that aligned with her values. “I wanted a job I could be passionate about.”

She joined the military at age 17 and retired at 50, starting in the Army as an Artillery Officer then spending much of her career conducting Military Police work. “The military taught me discipline,” she continued. “Through the Army, I learned how to treat people with dignity and respect to achieve the outcomes needed to succeed.”

Upon retirement, Jan began volunteering as a mentor in Veteran’s Court. Through one of her mentees, she was introduced to MUST Ministries and Veteran’s Supportive Housing and discovered an open position as Veteran’s Case Manager. With a vast military background, Jan was ready to apply her knowledge to a new career in social work.

Now, Jan uses what she learned in the military to help former veterans overcome poverty. Every day, she works to build trustworthy relationships by empathizing and connecting with clients who come from a life she knows well. She also helps clients assess their needs and matches resources and actions to accomplish their goals. “My hope is to see our clients be successful and make this a short stay on their life plan,” she explains.

She is already making a huge impact on the veterans and the program. In 2018, the program has served 24 individuals with a 92 percent housing stability rate, and 83 percent of veteran-clients have either maintained or increased their income.

“It’s important to help the clients see that they can be successful despite disabilities.