Sheri Verkamp

Behind every face is a story.

Being a property manager at Victory Park, an apartment complex that houses 70 previously homeless veterans, has given me an opportunity to hear so many stories. My personal life experiences have taught me no one is immune to mental health struggles or drug and alcohol abuse.

It could literally be anyone of us at any time.

One drink too many or even crossing paths with a person of bad influence could lead us down the wrong road. 

We should all be given a chance to climb back up. We should have an opportunity for safety in housing and the people that surround us. This all led me to my calling in human services.

I’m not just a property manager, and these aren’t just displaced veterans.

At Victory Park, these individuals have become a part of my family.

The call to action

Life isn’t always easy, but I’m thankful for the journey that brought me here.

I joined the Nebraska Army National Guard in 2009, when I was making some changes that weren’t conclusive to the life I wanted to live. All I needed was the right fit. I grew up around cars and bikes, and somebody suggested I become a helicopter mechanic. 

And so I did. I have loved every minute of this opportunity.

The human service part of it fits in with my love for taking care of people. I’ve spent eight years working for local non-profit organizations as a case worker for both the general public and the veteran programs. It was while helping that I learned how much I enjoyed the housing piece. 

Victory Park opened in 2017 and I was recommended for the job. It was an opportunity to follow my passion for human services, focus on the housing piece, and also serve my military duties. 

A start to something bigger

I can truly say I’ve found my calling here at Victory Park.

Almost daily, we get to hear the stories of veterans, asking if they qualify. So the need for more housing is certainly there. Just one look at the good a place like Victory Park is doing is convincing enough.

For example, we have a beautiful young couple that lives with us now. 

Both have struggled with alcohol use, and they have been sober now for over two years. They are both employed and are doing well. All they needed was an opportunity, and they’ve used the one provided here at Victory Park to make themselves better. 

And theirs isn’t the only story.

Companies like Burlington Capital can offer a place for all veterans to call home. And that’s truly something I’m grateful for.

It would be awesome if we could have these kinds of opportunities not only in Lincoln but throughout the whole country. There are so many veterans still in the streets. Not all of them are ready to ask for help, and sometimes pride gets in the way. But to have the availability for there to be housing for them is truly amazing.

And this is only the beginning.

A place to call home

The scope of the Victory Park plan is so much bigger.

It isn’t just an apartment complex. Burlington Capital is completing a $100 million project to aid in the development of more apartments. The scope of those plans goes beyond veterans and is going to benefit our aging partners and the senior housing market as well.

Personally, I am thrilled to see everything grow.

My mom is dealing with cancer right now, and there is not a person in this building that doesn’t come and ask me how she’s doing. During the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, when I was at home with my kids, I’d come into the office at night, and residents were focused on me and how my family was holding up.

Simple things like that are a constant reminder that Victory Park is an actual community of people that look out for one another. 

This is home. 

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