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Energy assistance provides warmer welcome to Fort Collins Navy vet

04 Aug. 2017

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Energy assistance provides warmer welcome to Fort Collins Navy vet

After serving in the U.S. Navy for 20 years and living around the world, Joseph S. wanted his family to settle down in his favorite community – Fort Collins. But he didn’t anticipate two major hurdles – his difficulty transitioning his military work experience into civilian life, and the rising cost of living in Fort Collins.

The 45-year-old single dad has an hourly job in production support at the Vestas manufacturing plant in Windsor and recently earned an associate’s degree in business. But he’s still “living paycheck to paycheck and working my way up.” He ran into a budget shortfall this summer when holiday plant closings reduced his work hours.

“I had to seriously overcome my pride and ask for help,” he said, describing how relieved and thankful he was that Energy Outreach Colorado could help him catch up on his Fort Collins Utilities bill. “I was in a bad place and they really came through and helped out. I appreciate it.” 

A Chicago native whose family lived in Colorado for a few years during his childhood, Joseph looked forward to relocating to Fort Collins with his two kids after retiring from the Navy. “After all the moving around we did, I wanted to give my kids some stability and have them go to high school someplace where I wouldn’t have to worry about them,” he said.

“When I was here as a kid Fort Collins was reasonably priced and a great place to grow up,” he added. “Now it’s so expensive -- a three-bedroom, one bath apartment rents for around $1,500 a month.”

Joseph plans to continue his education at Colorado State University and pursue a career in mass communications, which he enjoyed as a journalist and broadcaster in the Navy. “The civilian world doesn’t necessarily see my qualifications as the military did,” he explained.  

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