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October 21, 2011     West Seattle Herald
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,alililmllluuaainitm ,IJdINtlWIli,IAR]I ilanunllmm Hi:]i, ilart piinllL,m I - - j, : - J[j . . .  1]| West Seattle Herald Friday, October 21, 2011 13 Arbor Heights Army vet gets back on track Steve Shay Army veteran Ryan Shannon of Arbor Heights says he is back on track with his life. He attends SSCC and is assisted by the Wash- ington State Veterans Innovations Program, or VIP • By Steve Shay When Ryan Shannon. 29. a sin- gle father of two. returned home from his 2007-2010 deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. civilians thanked him for his service, but his family was almost forced out into the street• His wife left his kids while he was serving and when he did return to his home state of Michigan, let's just say they weren't hiring. Worse. he lost three fingers on his left hand due to a circular saw accident last year. Luckily, Shannon, who served with the Army's 2nd Ranger Bat- talion, Delta Company, deployed out of Fort Lewis, found another vet who hooked him up with the Veterans Innovations Program. or VIE a Washington State organiza- tion that. too, is struggling finan- cially and has helped get him back on his feet with financial assistance in the form of a flexible fund. Shannon said he feels fortunate relative to many other vets, as he has settled into a "normal" routine of attending school. South Seattle Community College, where he is organizing a veterans club to help others, while renting a house. thanks to the GI Bill, The GI Bill pays for tuition and a rent allotment, as long as you remain in school. He is helping the landlord repair the home. on the scenic western edge of Arbor Heights with a Sound view. His daughter, Sydney, 4. attends pre- school at the college while Daniel. the FOR YOUTH DEVELOPMENT ® FOR HEALTHY LIVING FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY RENEW HAR6E NN DISCOVER THE DIFFERENCE AT THE Y Join Now & Save up to $150" WEST SEATTLE & FAUNTLEROY YMCA 206 935 6000 VISIT ystart.org T Everyone is welcome. Financial assistance is available. The YMCA of Greater Seattle strengthens communities in King and south Snohomish counties through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. *Monthly dues apply. Photo ID required. Valid only at YMCAs in King County through Oct. 31,2011. 51 goes to kindergarten at Arbor Heights School. They are also'on food assistance. "Seems most people, when they get out of the service, they go back to their home town and maybe live with their parents," said Shannon, adding, "My parent's basement? Not an option. They don't have a basement. My dad is a pastor and works m counseling in schools in Flint. Michigan. He's doing some good. My mom works for a bank. They're not wealthy by any means. They get by. I intend to do more than that. "Veterans and soldiers, we are programed and built to not be bro- ken," he said. "And when we are broke, we take care of ourselves. So generally when we have a problem we're not the first ones to ask for help" Referring to the VIE he said, "That's why I am trying to get this veterans club going at the sch'ool, for a support group, for a safety net to help other vet- erans.'" The Washington State Lot- tery has teamed up with the VIP and launched The HOMETOWN HEROES RAFFLE which started Sept. 5 and runs through Nov. 10. Over 3.000 prizes will be awarded on Veterans Day, 11/11/11. Tickets are sold just like the other lottery tickets, and at the same places• You pay $10 per ticket and receive both a HOMETOWN HEROES ticket, plus five Mega Millions numbers. Money raised funds VIE According to the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs VIP website pages. "The Veterans Innovations Program was created to provide assistance to veterans and their families facing financial hardships due to deploy- ments in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Funds are 'provided to veterans and families in need through two programs within the Veterans Innovations Program." The programs include a one- time emergency grant up to $1,000, and/or an award that focuses on activities that will help veterans and their families obtain sustainable family-wag e employ- ment. Shannon qualified for. and benefits from, both programs. "I did carpentry after high school," Shannon said. "And I took an electronics program. Carpentry work was really good money and I stuck with that. Then the economy took a dive in Michi- gan. Building stopped and I didn't see any other option so I thought I'd join the army. I thought it would be a good way to support my family. I'd never known what I wanted to do with my life. "When I came home, I was going to use my GI Bill to go fly helicopters at a school in Florida, The VIP program gave me a game plan. They explained that the real- ity with war winding down is a lot of pilots are coming home and it would be difficult to find work (as a pilot). So I started college at Evergreen State, then moved here to attend South Seattle Com- munity College. My goal to get into UW. "In 2007 I went into the Army. Marriage didn't work out when I was away," he said. "Right now I am with the woman I love more than anything. I love my children. I'm on track.,I'm so happy. I went from the pits of despair to almost bliss." Shannon has his sites set on a medical-related field after gradu- ating. But for now he thanks the VIE and "'my backbone at South Seattle Community College, Delo- res Taylor. Who is in charge with Veterans issues on campus." She is helping him and others organize the Veterans club. There are about 140 "known" veterans who are students there. Shanon explained. "They blend in well. They are not walking around in uniform. They den't have short hair, necessarily. That's what we do when we're all done. We have to blend in to become who we were." For VIP raffle ticket infoforma- tion. go to www.walottery.com/ heroes Steve Shay can be reached aL steves @robinsonnews.com. VIADUCT: How to cope with closure CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12 • Northbound SR 99 between the South Royal Brougham Way on-ramp and the Battery Street Tunnel will open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.. Monday through Friday, and for special events at CenturyLink Field. Southbound viaduct closure • Southbound SR 99 between the Battery Street Tunnel and West Seattle Bridge will be closed around-the-clock, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21 to 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 31. What happens after the nine-day closure? From WashDOT. "Both north and southbound traffic will be traveling on the first of two new bridges. The second new bridge is scheduled to open to traffic in 2013. When the new roadway is complete, the west bridge will be used for southbound traffic, and the east bridge for northbound traf- fic." "'Drivers will pass through a construction bypass between South King Street and South Royal Brougham Way. The bypass will connect the new SR 99 bridge to the viaduct at South King Street. It will keep traffic on SR 99 moving while work continues on the via- duct replacement•" "South of South King Street. SR 99 will have two lanes in each direction. North of South King Street the viaduct will remain m its current configuration with three lanes in each direction." The speed limit on the viaduct post-closure will be 40 mph, with a construction zone between S. King St. and Royal Brougham Way sug- gesting 25 mph. Ty Swenson can be reached at policeblotter @ robinsonnews.com. , r " T .....