IN THE NEWS: Removing Barriers

Our COO Darryl Vincent was recently profiled in the 2015 edition of Kapolei Magazine. Please enjoy the text of the article below, or click here to download the original.

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It’s not hard to imagine how a fast-talking, energetic, optimistically upbeat person like Darryl Vincent can do the job he does – working with homeless and at-risk veterans to give them another chance at life. He is driven by a passion for a mission he believes in deeply.

“Any veteran who sleeps on the same streets he/she was once asked to defend is a dishonor to all of us, and it is our job at U.S. VETS to work ourselves out of a job,” he said.

Vincent, who is the chief operating officer of U.S. VETS and its 11 locations, started as the program director of the U.S. VETS – Barbers Point site. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Vincent is especially moved by the plight of Vietnam vets, who were not greeted as heroes when they came home. “It’s a national tragedy,” he said. “They were not accepted, and there were far fewer services for them.”

The psychological trauma that made it difficult for Vietnam vets to readjust to civilian life would later be identified as post-traumatic stress disorder. Fortunately for today’s veterans, people like Vincent and organizations like U.S. VETS are helping them by removing the barriers that prevent them from making a successful return to civilian life.

Vincent credits his mother for being the model for his work at U.S.VETS. “She’s a retired Army reservist who was working as a social worker in Hawaii when I left the Marines,” he said. “I came to visit her and was inspired by her work at the state of Hawaii Office of Public Guardian.”

Vincent went to work for Institute of Human Services as a case manager, eventually becoming a clinical supervisor. Then U.S.VETS came calling. They were looking for a veteran with a social service background to run their Barbers Point program. That was 12 years ago. Vincent, who holds a bachelor’s degree in human services and a master’s in social work, is responsible for the national operations of the entire organization and directly oversees the executive directors of all 11 U.S. VETS sites across the country.

Vincent has also left his mark on the community, being recognized as one of the “10 people who made a difference in Hawaii” in 2007, and being given the “Unsung Hero” award by the National Coalition of Homeless Vets in 2008. In 2012, he was honored by Helping Hands Hawaii for his 19 years of work in the social service field.

“This work has allowed me to be a part of something larger than myself,” Vincent said. “It’s a calling and a blessing to give back more than you take.”