Reach board remains inactive despite allegations

This story contains the topic of suicide. If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255.

Three months after reports of malpractice at Reach Services surfaced, it appears the board of directors has done nothing in response. Multiple phone calls and emails to board members and administrators of the organization have gone unanswered.

Current board member Pam Deady did speak briefly but refused to answer any questions. Terre Haute Vice News started investigating Reach Services back in June, when a former employee drove to the company’s offices on Hulman street and took his own life in the parking lot.

In the wake of his death several current and former employees, and their family members spoke out about mistreatment and illegal practices. It was revealed that the Director of Operations had stolen from a client’s checking account and used their identity to take out personal loans.

Several of the former employees, including the gentleman who took his own life, were veterans who had previously received services from Reach. In subsequent interviews with former employees others expressed their contemplation of suicide during their time at the organization.

According to a recent story from multimedia journalist Emily Arnold, Indiana veteran suicide rates far exceed the national average for the general public. In 2019 veterans in Indiana took their own lives at a rate of 29.8 per 100,000 while the suicide rate for the general public was 18.

The article goes on to list several organizations helping to prevent veteran suicide such as Stop 22, Vets4Warriors, and the Veterans Crisis Line. Stop 22 has partnered with local animal shelters to train dogs as emotional support animals for veterans struggling with depression.

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4 responses to “Reach board remains inactive despite allegations”

  1. It took me several months to locate my resignation letter due to corrupt files, but, alas, here it is. Please read. This was written on or around June 1st, 2021. No edits or changes have been made to the document; in fact, the file is a PDF.

    Dear Susie Thompson:
    Please accept this letter as my formal resignation as Case Manager, Team Lead at Reach Veterans Services. My last day of employment will be on June 15th, 2021, or, as needed to enable a smooth transition between incoming and outgoing case managers.

    I would also like to take the opportunity to thank you for your patience, empathy, and commitment to Terre Haute’s homelessness community, especially the veteran population; you know as well as I that the sheer number of veterans who remain in a chronic state of homelessness far surpasses what it ought to be, and, unjustifiably, reflects poorly on those of us who have devoted so much of our lives to service. Moreover, I would personally like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with this population and with Reach Services. It has been a highlight, both personally and professionally, to have been given the chance.

    As we have discussed on numerous occasions, working with veterans is a uniquely rewarding and difficult experience, one that takes a special kind of talent, and individual who can both exhibit compassion, understanding, and authoritarianism simultaneously. Over the course of the last several months, you and I have discussed at some length the systemic discrepancies found consistently within Indianapolis and Reach Veterans Services itself. From HUD VASH physically meeting with us to inform the office that, as a team, we were doing our jobs incorrectly to Nathan’s non-response for weeks and months after guarantees which have yet be fulfilled; from the blatant disrespect and targeting from both Arielle and Monica to the nebulous and translucent guidelines that are either “updated” too frequently, completely ignored, or absorbed and implemented by only select individuals, our team as unfortunately suffered greatly which, in turn, directly effects our veterans, a responsibility for which I can no longer be a part. The list is extensive, as you’re well aware, and to me appears Möbius, not linear. I am also not interested in the blame game, either, and take responsibility where it is due.

    With that being said, and as I have brought to your attention before, the work environment at the office is frequently hostile and triggering to someone who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, as the yelling, anger, threats of termination, and constant harassment have been a consistent theme throughout my employment with Reach Services. Since starting at Reach, the number of panic attacks experienced has exponentially increased, in part due to the virtually mandatory overtime required to “successfully” complete our caseloads and the stupefying number of issues that arise as a result of offering walk-ins.

    Moreover, I no longer feel safe working for an organization who has only recently exited a veteran who twice physically threatened me and my wife’s physical safety in public and again to Program Manager Gray over the phone. In today’s social climate, threats of this nature ought to be taken more seriously or at least as seriously as not allowing that veteran to continue to receive assistance after threatening violence; the police were in fact called over this incident and I have written extensively to the narrative of events. Lastly, I was quite taken aback by our conversation on Friday, as Program Manager Gray was aware, and relayed to other employees, that I would be out until Monday. The demeanor and tone of the conversation was threatening and belittling, especially to someone who has given so much to the organization. To ask someone to choose between their spouse, who suffers from an auto-immune disease and was taken by ambulance to Union, and the status of their future employment seems to me unethical, problematic, and emblematic of a much deeper issue, especially when the issue is predicated on a lie and someone with the requisite PTO.

    To this end, my resignation is a culmination of these events—as well as Indianapolis’s incompetence and lack of general supervision—so that the continued and necessary services are provided to our most vulnerable populations. In the last weeks of my employment, I will do anything to help with a seamless transition between the incoming and outgoing case manager(s), as well as any additional tasks to ensure all proper documentation is turned over, as well as any keys associated with Reach Services. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

    All my best,

    Brandon Courtney

    Like

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