FOREST CITY | Family Alliance for Veterans of America saved Willa Klamp-Carrillo’s life, the veteran said Tuesday. 

Klamp-Carrillo, a U.S. Army veteran who served from 1981 to 1988 as an ammunition specialist, struggled with drug addiction and homelessness before learning about the organization based in Forest City that educates, advocates and supports veterans and their families at a time of critical need.

“I just want you all to know if any of you other veterans’ associates have any type of moral stamina, physical stamina, spiritual stamina, like Rose Holmes does, this program will live on into infinity,” she said. “Believe me, it will because it worked for me. I’m the worst of the worst, and I know it’ll work for other veterans.”

Klamp-Carrillo, of Carroll, shared her story with a room of nearly 30 individuals Tuesday during a program organized by Family Alliance for Veterans of America, or FAVA, to accept a $30,000 donation from AT&T.

The donation provides matching funds for two FAVA initiatives: Supportive Services for Veterans Families, which connects veterans to resources like classes, food and household items, and the Passport to Independence program, which provides housing veterans who are homeless or disabled at the FAVA House in Forest City.

“They sent me a person who understood that she wasn’t there to heal me, to fix me, to do anything like that sort, but she was there in a capacity of total and complete compassion,” said Klamp-Carrillo of Supportive Services for Veterans Families. “That’s what FAVA is. FAVA is a organization that offers hope, offers a sense of strong, strong stability of the mind in order to continue your life on an acceptable, legal, basis.”

Rose Holmes, a FAVA veteran advocate, spoke about Supportive Services for Veterans Families and the individuals she has served before introducing Klamp-Carrillo. FAVA serves veterans in more than 40 counties spanning North Iowa.

“It’s amazing the hugs you get just for delivering that stuff, and it’s really humbling because I know I’m just a middle person,” she said. “It’s the grace of God. It’s people like you who give us what we need to deliver to the veterans who are so well-deserving.”

Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.

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