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Our sponsorship of the Parkersburg, WV non-profit We Have Your Six (WHY6) is a perfect match. WHY6 founder, Gloria Husk, is a woman after Jan Dils’ own heart – smart, dedicated, and unstoppable. Though rooted in the Mid-Ohio Valley, WHY6 provides support to all Veterans, including those stationed overseas. No matter the location, no Veteran is turned away, and Husk is determined that WHY6 be a safety net and “one-stop shop” for Veterans, active duty soldiers, and our National Guard.
Husk’s grandfather, a WWII Veteran and Scion of the 17th Airborne, ignited her interest in the military with stories about his service years and the Battle of the Bulge. Her father and uncle served in the Army during the Vietnam War and consequently struggled with PTSD and addiction. She knew the tolls of war intimately, but this did not diminish her commitment to our Armed Forces. “In fact,” Husk joked, “I was planning to be a marine – instead, I married one!”
Even while working full-time and raising seven children (two of whom enlisted), Husk was determined to honor her late grandfather’s wish to further her education and graduated from WVU with a master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications with an emphasis in Nonprofits. Years later, during a visit to the Clarksburg VA Advisory Board committee, she was saddened to learn that many Veterans in Parkersburg were homeless or “couch-surfing.” Husk was ready to serve those who serve, and in January 2018, she filed for 501C3 status and We Have Your Six was born.
Ensuring the success of a non-profit is incredibly demanding. Husk receives no salary and works tirelessly to secure grants and build meaningful community relationships. Many of her referrals are from the Washington County Vet Center, the Clarksburg VA, House to Home, Salvation Army, DAV, American Legion, and United Way 211. After attending a board meeting for the Jan Dils fundraiser “Operation Transportation,” which provides bus tickets to Veterans, she and Dils met to discuss common goals. Soon after, Dils donated $6,000; six months later, she sponsored the WHY6 2nd annual motorcycle ride with $3,000.
Many Veterans’ greatest hardship is the loneliness they feel after coming home. Husk recalls meeting a young Veteran who missed his buddies from his time in Afghanistan and felt a hole in his life when he was unable to re-enlist. Some Veterans turn to drugs as a way of coping with trauma, become addicted, and spiral into poverty and homelessness. WHY6 is there to keep them safe, healthy, and independent. This may include finding affordable housing, providing services for elderly Veterans, paying utility bills, contributing to children’s school costs, or simply buying a new set of tires so the Veteran can continue working.
After having to cancel many events due to COVID, Husk is busy planning several fundraisers, such as a car wash, a motorcycle ride, and the highly anticipated military ball. This year’s ball is on October 16, 2021 and she stressed that tickets always sell out quickly. Husk recalls the touching moment during the 1st annual ball when she watched a couple in their 80s, slow-dancing and dressed to the nines. The Korean War Veteran and his wife told her it was one of the best times they had in ages.
While securing funds is the greatest challenge for any non-profit, volunteers are always needed at WHY6 to staff events and help renovate their newly acquired office building and future Veterans’ barracks. Most importantly, it is crucial to spread the word that We Have Your Six is eager to help our Veterans. Sometimes, it can be difficult to convince them there’s no shame in needing a hand. However, as Husk pointed out, “these Veterans wouldn’t think twice about helping their buddies,” and she is honored to be there for them.
You can donate or contact We Have Your Six here: https://wehaveyoursix.org/take-action
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law