Our own Atlanta West End Rotarian, Tony Kimbrough, is a decorated veteran having served in the national guard as a military intelligence officer. Following his military career, he has found success as a civilian in nonprofit management, and now serves as CEO of the Veterans Empowerment Organization. In this role, Tony’s personal objective is to help other veterans to success.
VEO was started in 2008 by Franz Fortune, a native of Haiti, whose brother was a military veteran. In 2008, Franz happened upon homeless veterans living under a bridge. On a whim, Franz escorted the veterans to a local big-box retailer. They were hired on the spot. Weeks later during a follow-up visit to the veterans, Franz found that they were lauded as excellent employees. However, their continued homelessness was affecting their work performance. Immediately Franz housed the veterans and conceived the idea for VEO. While the breadth of VEO services has changed over the years, the mission of VEO is the same—to get veterans off the streets and address their crises.
Right now, the VEO campus is located in Atlanta’s Westside community and consists of four apartment buildings and a transitional housing facility. For a new VEO client, the service protocol typically involves a case manager background interview, needs evaluation, and a move into affordable housing. Ongoing licensed, professional counseling for substance abuse, PTSD, and sexual trauma is available as needed. Finally, the VEO program, in partnership with big and small businesses, helps clients to get certifications, continue their education through GI or technical colleges, and find secure employment.
VEO is an Atlanta-based organization with aspirations to grow its model to serve veterans in other communities throughout the United States. To date, VEO boasts over 6000 veterans served. https://veohero.org/