Doing What She Can For Veterans In Need

PAYSON PEOPLE

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Veterans helping veterans has been the focus of Misti Isley's life for more than a decade.

The Veterans Helping Veterans Shelter in Payson opened in 1994, at the intersection of Colcord Road and Wade Lane.

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Misti Isley

Isley's son, who currently lives at the shelter, is one of the reasons she became involved in caring for the homeless.

Her son was severely hurt while serving in the military and was institutionalized with mental difficulties.

When one of Isley's friends, Kay Yeager, lost her husband, also a disabled veteran, the two decided to sell their homes and open up the Veterans Helping Veterans Shelter.

Isley said she first discovered Payson by chance and loved it from the beginning.

In 1980, she visited her aunt and uncle for Thanksgiving in Payson and three days later was packing her belongings to move to the Rim Country.

Isley, 81, said she has been involved with Veteran Affairs for about 25 years.

She and Yeager opened the shelter in Payson almost 15 years ago after seeing the increased need for veterans who had nowhere else to go.

She said, the satisfaction she receives from helping veterans in need is seeing them get back on their feet.

"We help them get a job and get an education to keep them sober and clean," she said.

She said the shelter takes almost all of her free time. On Wednesday, she spent her day taking a disabled veteran to the VA hospital in the Valley.

The shelter, she said, is running at capacity.

She and Yeager serve 25 to 30 veterans and provide them with three meals a day.

There are veterans she cannot help due to the limited space at the shelter, but she tries not to turn anyone away.

"Right now, if I had four or five more bedrooms it would be great, because I would be able to feed them," she said.

When opening the shelter, the two thought they would be able to get a grant to fund it, but were unable to find that kind of help.

Instead of giving up, they decided to pool their resources to do what they could afford.

The shelter has 18 bedrooms and seven bathrooms.

She and her partner have different responsibilities, and her main job focuses on the finances while Yeager works with counselors to get veterans the help they need.

The shelter is in the process of doing a fund-raiser for a new roof.

The shelter is located at 212 W. Wade Lane.

Profile

Hometown: Reno, Nev.

Age: 81

Occupation: Nurse and the military

What's the biggest risk you've taken recently? Surviving a three-car collision in Payson.

Three things you want people to know about you: I collect wools and I am a pilot. I also like to play golf.

When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up? My mother said I would be a nurse or a teacher and I became both.

Favorites

Book: Hawaii

Song: "Sentimental Journey"

Food: Shrimp

Sport to watch: Horse racing

Vacation spot: Hawaii

Recreational activity: Golf

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