Profiles of VICtory: Claus, Marine Corps Veteran

Claus, Marine Corps Veteran
Claus served in Marines during the 1980’s, where he also served during Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada). After leaving the military, Claus did a variety of jobs, but his passion was animals. He ran an animal sanctuary, but when the recession hit in 2008, he couldn’t afford to remain open. He sold it and moved his family to New Mexico where he thought they could get a new start. Claus tried finding employment, but was unsuccessful, and turned to a life of crime to support his family. Because of his actions, Claus went to prison for three years, his wife divorced him, and took the kids to live with her family in Pennsylvania. Claus was pending release and heard about the VIC when he attended a presentation about early parole options. The VIC works with over 12 prisons throughout New Mexico to help provide information on our Jail Diversion program. Clause applied and was accepted into the VIC Transitional Housing Program on his release date. He does admit that he was surprised to be accepted and wasn’t sure if he would be a good candidate, but was really happy to get a second chance in life. Claus worked with his VIC case manager in Transitional Housing and together they created a plan to complete his parole successfully and the chance for him to see his kids once again. With the help of his VIC case manager, Claus was able to transfer his parole to Pennsylvania, and was given permission to see his children once monthly. Claus was amazed at the services and support he received from the VIC and knew that he wanted to find a way to give back. Claus began working with local Veteran organizations and used his experience from the VIC to help other Veterans struggling to get their lives back. He began to address the service gaps he noticed in Pittsburgh and became an advocate for Veterans. With the help of friends, Clause is working on creating his own nonprofit to help homeless Veterans and those exiting prison regain a newfound control of their lives. He tells everyone in Pittsburgh that the VIC saved his life and works to give Veterans hope. He still checks in with our staff and sends updates regularly about his progress. We’re proud of the work Claus is doing and glad that our team members could help him renew his life!


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