A record number graduates from HVAF's recovery program

On Friday, six veterans graduated from HVAF's Residential, Employment, Substance, Abuse, Treatment program, known as REST, which is a recovery program for people battling addictions. As of May 4, 2012, this group makes up the highest number of graduates in the program on a single day. The veterans were greeted by several peers and alumni who praised their accomplishments. Each veteran received a certificate. In their own words, the veterans reflect on what the program has meant to them.

HVAF Peer Mentor Fred Young with Ron
Entered the HVAF recovery program on July 25, 2011

"When I first came to HVAF, I was angry at myself for letting   my life spiral out of control. I struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, but HVAF was there to help. The recovery program is great because it works. I no longer desire to turn to drugs or alcohol. I am 50 years old and I feel like my life is just beginning."

HVAF Peer Mentor Fred Young with William
Entered the HVAF recovery program on July 18, 2011

"It is one of the best programs in the city. I struggled at first but then I realized the recovery program staff were here to help me and I began to help myself. I changed my life and I am proud of it."

HVAF Peer Mentor Fred Young with David
Entered the HVAF recovery program on August 16, 2011

"I knew I needed to make a major change in my life. Since I came to HVAF last year it has been an incredible journey. I can say today that I have a renewed faith in myself and I'm ready to accomplish the goals I have set out in my life. I'm finally living my life the way I should."

Jon with HVAF Peer Mentor Fred Young
Entered the HVAF recovery program on August 5, 2011

"I've been clean and sober nine months today. It's been a rocky road and a lot of work but it's worth it. The recovery program I went through at HVAF works. Without the support of its staff I wouldn't have been able to make it to where I am today."

HVAF Peer Mentor Fred Young with Rob
Entered the HVAF recovery program on August 18, 2011

"Eight months ago I needed a place to sleep. I also needed food so I came to HVAF. Once in the recovery program, I worked to overcome addiction to alcohol. I will forever be grateful to the HVAF staff for helping me along the way."

Jay and HVAF Peer Mentor Fred Young
Entered the HVAF recovery program on August 26, 2011

"I was living in a homeless camp. Mike Adams, an HVAF staff member found me and kept coming back to check on me. I have so much to be thankful today, especially for Mike Adams entering my life and helping me get into the recovery program at HVAF. As a result of the program, I learned to love myself again. I also feel as if I have the confidence to be successful at anything I put my mind to. Thank you for bringing me back to a better place in my life."

6 graduating veterans with HVAF Peer Mentor Fred Young


Appalachian Trail hike to benefit HVAF

FOX59's Vanessa McClure interviewed Zach Day about his efforts to hike to Appalachian Trail. View the story here.

26-year-old Zach Day, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, will begin a 2200 mile, 5-month long hike of the Appalachian Trail in early June, 2012, on behalf of HVAF which is currently providing housing and basic needs to 200 homeless veterans in Indianapolis.

Day’s journey will start at Mt. Katahdin, ME and will carry him through 14 states to Georgia’s Springer Mountain.

Day, who ended his 12-month Afghan tour, in August, 2011, says he’s lucky to have strong family support, as well as support from the Indiana American Legion. But, he says many aren’t so lucky and find themselves without a place to live. This was Day’s motivation for his Hike for Hoosier Vets campaign, which he hopes will raise awareness and funds for HVAF.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has recorded fewer than 12,000 people that have hiked the entire trail since the 1930s, when it was established. Day has been training for months, and he says he is prepared to face challenges along the way.

"Your life may change when you come back from war, but your goals don't have to, just the way you go about achieving them,” says Day. “Everyone has their journey. You have to be willing to take it."

You can partner with Day, the Indiana American Legion, and HVAF to help expand supportive services for homeless veterans by making a monetary donation to HVAF in honor of Day’s Hike for Hoosier Vets. To make a donation go to or contact Debra Des Vignes, marketing coordinator, at or 317-951-0688. If you are interested in sponsoring Zach with a donation of equipment or gear, contact

Day will be documenting his journey through a trail journal.You can follow his progress on the HVAF blog at starting next month.