Even if you’ve had lots of bad luck come your way, there’s probably someone out there that can top it. Captain Jaspen Boothe of the Army National Guard is one of those people.
While this single mother served in Iraq in August 2005, she lost everything back home in New Orleans to Hurricane Katrina. And the hits didn’t stop there.
The very next month, she was diagnosed with “aggressive head, neck, and throat cancer,” according to her website. As a result, she could no longer be deployed overseas and needed a job to support her young son and to pay for her medical care. She inquired about around about assistance, but was told that there aren’t any organizations dedicated to specifically helping female veterans.
While undergoing radiation treatments for her cancer, Boothe managed to keep a position in the Army Reserves. Once she felt better, she joined the Army National Guard, in which she now serves, based out of Washington, D.C.
Now that she had climbed back on her feet, Boothe wanted to do something to help other female veterans caught in difficult circumstances. So in 2010, she founded the nonprofit Final Salute, Inc., with the goal of housing homeless female veterans. “When Americans think of veterans, they’re only thinking about the men. Women veterans are the forgotten heroes of America. A lot of them have fallen on hard times,” Boothe told Denise Hendricks of HLN Morning Express.
To date, Final Salute, Inc. has helped 200 veteran women and their children, and now runs three transitional homes for them in Alexandria, Virginia; Martinsburg, West Virginia; and Columbus, Ohio. Through its S.A.F.E. program (Savings Assessment and Financial Education), the organization assists women vets achieve financial stability and offers emergency assistance, and through its H.O.M.E. initiative (Housing Outreach Mentorship Encouragement), it offers housing assistance and help with food, diapers, and other essentials.
“We are not a pity party environment. We give you all the tools that you need, but your success in this program is up to you.” Boothe’s tireless efforts, she said, are “the right thing to do as an American and the right thing to do as a soldier.”