Almost 19 years ago, in May of 2000, Jeri Martinez joined the VFW National Home for Children team. She remembers being nervous to start her new adventure here but also guilty as she had three small ones at home!
When she first started, Jeri worked part-time to help update the National Home’s donor database. She soon made herself indispensable and was offered a full-time position.
Since she began working at the National Home, the program has broadened to include the assistance of all veterans nationwide through the Helpline, and the on-campus program has expanded to include children living with one or two parents.
“I was very happy when we started accepting two parent families.” She said.
“What better way to get on your feet, heal, learn and grow than to do it as a family, together?”
Jeri says her favorite thing about the National Home and what she feels sets it apart from other agencies is the fact that the focus is on the entire family.
Over the years, Jeri has gone from being a data entry clerk to working as a Development Support Specialist. She processes donations, mails out thank you letters, handles all of the online contributions, recurring gifts, gift-in-kind donations, and answers the home’s donor relations phone line.
But Jeri does even more than that! She goes above and beyond, wearing many hats at the National Home. She works events, selling souvenirs, taking in donations, being our main photographer, as well as regularly taking photos and videos around the National Home. Most recently she attained a CDL to drive the agency minibus for special events!
When asked about her favorite memories at the National Home she sighed and said there were so many.
“Years ago we had a young mother with several little girls living in the Michigan House and one particular little girl; Matilda made me a rabbit out of wood.” She said smiling.
“I still have it. I will always cherish it.”
“I love how all of the children at the Early Education Center just turn those smiles on when I have the camera pointed their way and then they all want to see their picture. So sweet.”
“Oh! And there was this young man that lived in the Georgia House years ago, Christopher who was the most polite generous young man.”
“So many memories….”
The National Home has been blessed to have someone as dedicated and devoted as Jeri Martinez. Thank you, Jeri!