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Step Up | Preston W.’s Story
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Preston W.’s Story
Preston W.’s Story

Preston W. Wilcox, Jr., never thought he would end up experiencing homelessness. Mr. Wilcox, a Vietnam Veteran who served in the Army as a communications specialist, had a 38-year career as a registered nurse.

Mr. Wilcox was in a motorcycle accident that damaged both of his knees. Then, his knees were shattered when a delivery truck crashed into him while driving. He was transported to the VA hospital for urgent care. Because Mr. Wilcox’s leg was infected with MRSA he underwent a voluntary amputation rather than risk an embolism. 

He moved in with the cousin. He paid his way financially and by performing chores such as driving her kids to and from school, cooking and cleaning. He describes the situation as abusive, but he endured it until the day she came to him and told him he needed to move out. 

Mr. Wilcox had nowhere to go. He ended up living at a transitional shelter for Veterans in South Los Angeles for seven months.

Now in his own home at Building 209, Mr. Wilcox is working on his own recovery from being a co-dependent caregiver. He is taking better care of himself and can finally sleep peacefully, in his own home.

An Important Message from Step Up

Dear Supporters, Volunteers and Trusted Community Partners,

We wanted to take a moment to let you know Step Up is actively monitoring the COVID-19 status in the communities we work. We are relieved to report that as of this writing, there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 in the Step Up Community. Step Up is taking measures to both protect employees' health and welfare, and to advance its critical mission to serve its most at-risk members. During this time, members will continue to need our support and we expect to continue to provide the exemplary level of support and services we have become known for in our community.

In an abundance of caution, Step Up is taking the following immediate steps to curtail the spread of the virus and to keep its staff, members and volunteers as safe and as healthy as possible during this period of unknown impact:

  • All volunteer activities at all sites are halted for a minimum of two weeks.
  • Managers are empowered to work with staff to curtail activities that may put them or members at risk. This includes the possibility of remote work when feasible, phone or telehealth meetings with members as necessary, avoiding transporting members in personal or company vehicles - the advancement of our mission is paramount;
  • Program staff will be trained on how to utilize company phone apps to effectively communicate with members and each other as necessary;
  • We have asked staff if they or an immediate family member is experiencing flu-like symptoms, to not report to any office location, contact their manager on how to proceed, and seek medical attention immediately.

While many public and private spaces have curtailed operations for the time being, Step Up will remain operational and will continue serving its clients. Again, it is important to note that NO ONE IN THE STEP UP COMMUNITY HAS TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19. Our goal is to keep it that way for as long as possible.

Please contact us by email or phone before coming to one of our locations. Support from our community is especially vital now as operations are re-aligned to adhere to our mission while keeping staff, members and volunteers safe. Please consider making a donation as we work through this difficult time. Your contributions in any amount ensure that Step Up will continue serving our most vulnerable neighbors, who are especially vulnerable during this community health crisis. Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.

Stay safe and healthy,
Tod Lipka
President & CEO