The tale of the homeless veteran
I wanted to share a story this morning
I got out of the Army in 2009. It was a time that I am very proud of, but it was time to move on and see what else was out there. Once I moved back to a small town in Tennessee, I realized there was no chance of getting a job there... So I did the next best thing, I moved a couple hours south to Atlanta, the nearest big town around.
I immediately found a security job which fit great with my recon/infantry background. However, the lack of Army structure and the freedom that comes with a civilian life quickly took its toll. There were very few nights I slept through the night; most nights i woke up covered in sweat surprised I wasn't back in Afghanistan. This, of course, took its tole in my job. I decided to seek help and went to the VA hospital, and was told I would be seen in a quick 4 1/2 months. I made an appointment that I, of course, never planned on keeping. If I am still okay in 4 1/2 months, i've made it through the worst of it anyway.
I made it about 2 months in the security job before they let me go. I had trouble paying rent, and after the money ran out, it came down to rent or food, and I had a car still. So I left my apartment one day and never looked back. I could sleep in my car until I found something else and get back on my feet, unfortunately many veterans never do...
I ended up linking up with a couple great people, who probably weren't the best for me. On an especially cold Georgia night, they offered me an easy way to pick up a couple dollars to get some food, gave me a couple bags to sell and set me up out of the way. It was a good, if not cold, way to get enough for some food.
It ended up becoming a regular thing, anytime I needed, I knew where to go to get some easy money and quick food. Well one night I see lights right as I go to pick up from our stash, there were three of us there that time. We all jump in the car and were going to bail once we got out of sight.
Well, this shit for brains decides to pull out his pistol and shoot at the cops... Instinct kicks in and I am able to fight the gun from him, but the driver wrecks during the struggle. The cops are on us in a second, I try to explain it wasn't my fault, I didn't want anything bad to happen, i'm a good person... The cop snarks back I'm just another drug dealing cop shooter...
Now obviously this isn't my story.. But it's only a couple decisions away from any of us. Veterans go through issues most people never consider. The veteran suicide rate is 22/day, but that is only reported from 21 states. 26% of all homeless people on the street are vets. If you see or know a veteran, or anyone in trouble, i urge you to reach out, help them if you can, or just let them know you are there if they need it.