Vandavid Vernon

Jalessa Rogers | September 20th, 2021
Vandavid Vernon

Vandavid Vernon

For years men and women have dedicated their lives to service through the different branches of the United States Military. After serving, many of them share a common feeling; finding it difficult to readjust to society. With knowing this, veteran Vernon Vandavid Jr. created a program, Vernon Veteran Services Inc., designed to provide information and assistance for veterans seeking to get reacclimated with society. It’s also a place where military veterans and their families can belong and relate soldier to soldier, shipmate to shipmate while acquiring resources, training, and mentorship programs.

Born and raised in Spartanburg, SC, Vandavid did not grow up with dreams of joining the military. He actually dreamt of becoming a professional football player. Growing up as the only boy with two older sisters and two younger sisters, he was accustomed to making a way for himself and standing out, which he did really well on the football field at Dorman High School in Spartanburg.
After gaining attention from powerhouse college football schools, he decided to take a season off and try his hand at basketball. Basketball did not work out, but he learned a valuable lesson about being a part of a team. “The football coaches benched me in my final football season because they did not trust that I wouldn’t abandon the team again,” he says.

After high school, he attended Greenville Technical College and Maryland University but soon decided to join the military after the birth of his first child. “I joined the military at 20 years old because I felt it was the best option for my family,” stated Vandavid.

A program that was started as a “let’s talk face to face,” is what Vandavid was aiming for when he created Vernon Veteran Services Inc. “Personal experience is the greatest teacher when searching for something or trying to understand someone that has been through a tough situation,” he says.

After being a part of the military, coming back to what felt like a whole new world was something that Vandavid and many other veterans struggled to readjust. “I don’t want to say that I wasn’t welcomed back, but there were no relatable people that I could talk to, and resources were hard to find,” stated Vandavid. “I set out to create a program that would provide and be the resource that veterans need. The moral to my story is not to throw things down to the soldier I see stuck in a hole, but to jump down there with them because I’ve been there before, and I want to show them personally how to get out.”

Mr. Vandavid has worked really hard to make the transition back to society easier for veterans through this nonprofit program by making donations and paying for them himself. Although everything has not been easy, he has had some amazing success stories. As a new program, his biggest success story was when a veteran made him realize it wasn’t what you could provide for them sometimes, it was just being there and listening to them. “Meeting and helping different veterans are effective ways to assist, but sometimes you learn that listening and asking simple questions can provide a lot more,” he says. “Providing knowledge that we are there no matter what, and knowing that any time you need a veteran, you have someone to talk to has been one of his biggest lessons and goals so far.”

Vandavid’s next goal for his program is to take it to a national level and make it available on military bases for active duty service people. He is also looking into providing housing and jobs soon for veterans.

For further information about Vernon Veteran Services Inc., please visit their website.

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