When Glenn Shellhouse retired from flying for commercial airlines for 37 years, he wasn’t sure where he would devote his time next. He said retiring was like “jumping out of an airplane,” both exciting and daunting, and he would know. He served in as an Air Force Aeromedical Evacuation pilot for five years, where he transported wounded military members from all over world back to the United States.
Shellhouse wanted to go backcountry camping, hiking and traveling with his wife. But he also wanted to do something to give back. So, when he came across an article about the Rocky Mountain Human Services (RMHS) Homes for All Veterans program in The Colorado Springs Gazette, he decided to volunteer.
“I was impressed with the fact that there was an organization actually doing things for Veterans and I wanted to be a small part of that,” Shellhouse said.
RMHS’ Homes for All Veterans (HAV) program has been providing basic necessities and services to homeless Veterans since 2012. HAV staff members and volunteers act as foot soldiers, identifying and connecting with Veterans experiencing homelessness to provide case management and support in accessing community resources. With passion and efficiency, HAV guides Veterans and their families to the most appropriate services and resources available to achieve their unique goals.
Twice a week, Shellhouse visits the Marian House Soup Kitchen and the Springs Rescue Mission, and occasionally, he “hits the encampments” along the Santa Fe bike trail and visits the RJ Montgomery Salvation Army shelter for Sunday dinners. He said he looks at this work as a baseball player views a batting average – the more people he talks to, the more people will be able to improve their lives through HAV.
“The clients that do well, I see them on the streets and they tell me, ‘I have a place now!’”
Later, Shellhouse realized that HAV outreach is a continuation of his former mission in the Air Force. "In a way, I still get to support fellow service members, which makes the work especially satisfying."
Program Manager Alison Gerbig said Shellhouse’s volunteer work has been invaluable. Within the past year, Shellhouse has conducted 135 hours of volunteer outreach and met with 153 Veterans.
“He has the time to go out and meet Veterans in our community, sit, listen and connect with them,” Gerbig said. “He views everyone he meets as a person of value – not ‘homeless,’ ‘addicted’ or ‘troubled,’ but as a member of our community and neighbor. We greatly appreciate Glenn’s commitment and compassion.”
The Colorado Springs HAV team is currently seeking volunteers. If you are interested in joining our efforts to end Veteran homelessness, please complete the volunteer form.