As the young spouse of a Marine, Kyler Olejnik had much to learn about the military life, which inspired her to start volunteering with Operation Homefront.
“I absolutely loved Operation Homefront, its mission and the team’s passion to serve,” Kyler said. “I was so thrilled when I was able to join OH as a staff member a few months later.”
Kyler has been on the Operation Homefront team for eight years and is now the Director of our Transitional Housing Program. She oversees the Transitional Housing Village (TH-V) and Transitional Housing Apartments (TH-A) programs.
“Our transitional housing programs provide relief to military families,” Kyler said. “Our case managers provide supportive services that help the entire family prepare for life after serving in the military.”
The transitional housing program also offers financial counseling, employment support, and education support. Its community-focused events and groups connect military families to one another and to outside resources. Kyler and her team provide the tools for families to succeed, but it is the hard work the families put in that truly makes a difference!
Kyler has many fond memories of military families who were helped through Operation Homefront’s transitional housing program, but one family does stand out.
“The Salcido family faced significant hardships – their daughter was a pediatric cancer survivor, they were in two bad car accidents that resulted in physical injury, and they were facing significant financial hardship,” Kyler said.
The service member had retired after 20 years in the Marine Corps and had multiple disabilities because of his service. Because of the vehicle accidents and their daughter’s cancer, the family had spent most of their savings. With the service member retiring, the family was about to lose their sole source of income, as well, and the service member had not yet applied for VA benefits. The Salcido family were referred to Operation Homefront’s Transitional Housing Village in Maryland.
During their time at the Maryland Transitional Housing Village, the Salcido family worked hard, paid off their debt, and saved as much as possible. They were beyond grateful for the opportunity.
“They ended up being selected for one of our Permanent Homes for Veterans (PH-V), successfully completed that program, and were deeded their home in January 2021!” Kyler said. “They had been carrying a heavy weight for so long, and it was finally lifted.”
Some of Kyler’s fondest memories from her time managing the Maryland Village were the community events that Operation Homefront offers to the families living there such as the holiday parties, egg hunts, community dinners – opportunities for the Village residents to build a stronger community with other families in the program.
She believes that being part of a supportive team helps her to serve military families in the best way possible.
“I love what I do, and it’s an honor to provide support to military families,” Kyler said. “I am constantly inspired by the families I serve, their ability to persevere, God, my family, and the incredible caring team I get to work with.”
To anyone considering reaching out to OH for help, Kyler has a message:
“Thank you for your service. You are worthy and deserving. You are why we exist.”