Alex’s service

Alex Nowlin is a post-9/11 Navy veteran. He served with a U.S. Customs battalion in Iraq, where he intersected contraband entering and leaving the country. One day, during his time in Iraq, Alex was involved in a Humvee accident, and the next thing he knew, he was being medevaced to Germany. In 2006, he was medically discharged from the Navy, but his passion for serving others has never ceased.

He uses his degree, awarded in 2014 in Communications, to reach veterans and other struggling populations, to give them the support they need.

Where we came in

In September of 2023, shortly after starting a new job, Alex slipped and fell, severely injuring his back. By January, his injury required surgical attention. After his surgery, his wife was his sole caregiver, as he was bedridden for the entire first-month post-operation. In the midst of it all, she also had to leave the country to deal with the loss of a loved one. He said it was a: “when it rains it pours kind of thing.”

With the loss of his income due to his operation, his wife cutting back hours to care for him at home, and grieving the loss of a family member, Alex’s family was struggling to make ends meet and fell behind on their mortgage payments.

After reaching out to Code of Support, Alex’s Case Manager, Jenna, began looking for financial assistance. “Working with our team and partnered organizations, I was able to quickly find Alex the support he and his family needed. I researched, applied for, and advocated for the resources he needed,” Jenna said.

Within three weeks, she secured funding from Gary Sinise Foundation to cover the family’s current and overdue mortgage payments to keep them from facing foreclosure.

With Alex now spending considerable time at home in recovery, he was not having as much contact with others, especially veterans, some of his favorite people to spend time with. So Jenna also connected him to mental health and community resources that he could engage in while he was recovering from surgery, ensuring that he still had camaraderie and support from home.

Alex’s Code of Support experience

Alex said, “From the first call to receiving assistance, everyone was great.”

Jenna, Alex’s Case Manager said, “I serve our veterans and their families because I want them to know that they are not alone, and to bring them hope- letting them know that there are resources and services out there to help them overcome the struggles they are facing.”

This approach was of great comfort to Alex as he worked with Jenna. “It isn’t easy when you have issues and you need help, but I felt ease and very comfortable to ask, and they were very patient. It was nothing rushed… They were really on it from the time I called.” he said.

Alex found compassion, professionalism, and accommodation at Code of Support, and when reflecting on his experience, he said: “I feel like your organization is family.” In April, he made the 1.5-hour drive from his home in Maryland to Falls Church, Virginia to attend our annual fundraising gala, Toast To Our Troops.

Alex at Toast To Our Troops 2024.

Alex and Jenna at TTOT24.

There, he met his Case Manager and the Code of Support team in person and saw support in action for veterans like himself.

When asked what it was like to meet Alex in person, Jenna said “Meeting Alex at TTOT was such a blessing. He is an amazing warrior, and it was great to meet him in person and share my gratitude for his service to our country and the honor it was to assist him and his family. It was an amazing reminder of why our team works so hard to help our veterans and their families, and an encouragement to keep paying it forward to the next military family.”

Where Alex is now: A life marked by service, resilience, and determination

Now, Alex is up and moving again, with six months of physical therapy still ahead of him. He is enjoying life with his four sons and two daughters and continues to pour himself into a life of serving others.

Since his surgery, he found employment as an event planner with the National Institute of Health (NIH), and helps to organize events centered around increasing awareness for cancer research and treatments.

In his personal time, Alex volunteers with the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) as an advocate for other veterans, encouraging them to find help. Supporting his brothers and sisters in arms has provided Alex with camaraderie after service, and he finds great joy in helping veterans any chance he can.

He hopes that his story can be an inspiration to others, reminding them that great things can happen when they reach out for help and pursue their dreams. He said: “I always tell veterans: I’m 100% disabled and I have a degree, and things can happen, it just takes time. Your organization [Code of Support] definitely was one of the best points of my life.”

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