For a decade, The Pathway Home has provided just what its name suggests: a guided trail back to civilian life for hundreds of veterans scarred by combat-related stress.
The nonprofit program, housed in offices leased at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville, has served more than 450 veterans and their families since its inception in 2007.
Authorities said a man recently kicked out of the program returned to its offices Friday and opened fire, killing its executive director, Christine Loeber; Dr. Jen Golick, the program’s therapist; and Jennifer Gonzales, a psychologist with the San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs.
“These brave women were accomplished professionals who dedicated their careers to serving our nation’s veterans, working closely with those in the greatest need of attention after deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan,” spokesman Larry Kamer said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, a Vietnam combat veteran and co-chairman of the Congressional Veterans Caucus, said The Pathway Home was an excellent program that provides much-needed services to veterans.
“I know a lot of people who are involved in the program, a lot of people who raise money for the program, are on the board of the program,” he said. “Everybody just is incredibly devoted. All they want to do is help veterans and that’s all they were trying to do, and this is what happened.”
The Pathway Home serves veterans from the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Over the past decade, it has evolved from being a “brief, intensive crisis program” to a longer-term, holistic residential model, according to its website.
The Pathway Home provides free educational, professional and clinical support to veterans seeking to return to school or pursue vocational training. It receives no direct funding from the government, although it partners with the San Francisco VA Medical Center to have a staff psychologist on site, according to its website.
Mike Ergo, a licensed clinical social worker and director of Rohnert Park’s North Bay Vets Center, has recommended the organization’s services to a host of veterans needing support. The Marine Corps veteran served from 2001 to 2005, deploying to Iraq twice and surviving the Second Battle of Fallujah as an infantryman.
“When I came back, the fact that people stepped up and offered me hope changed my life completely,” he said.
You can reach Staff Writer Christi Warren at 707-521-5205 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @SeaWarren.