Ron W., 55, is a United States Army veteran who was stationed in Ft. Jackson, South Carolina; Ft. Gordon, Georgia; and Ft. Hood, Texas in the 1970’s. He worked on teletype machines.
“It kept me on my toes and really made a man out of me,” says Ron.
Years of drinking and poor choices ultimately led Ron to homelessness, and he isolated himself from family. Ron says he took on odd jobs to stay afloat. However, in 1987, Ron’s addictions to alcohol and drugs increased.
“My older brother also struggled with addiction and so our stories are very similar," says Ron. "Like him, I became homeless and a burden on my family and we both burned a lot of bridges along the way.”
In 2009, Ron followed his brother again, but this time into recovery. He came to HVAF for help shortly after his brother had entered HVAF’s substance abuse recovery program called REST. The brothers banded together. They slept under the same roof at HVAF - something they hadn’t done in years.
“It is unique to have brothers in our recovery program at the same time,” says Fred Young, REST program coordinator. “Ron has persevered with his treatment, but the battle with addiction is never over so we encourage him to continue to stay focused now more than ever.”
Ron has moved through each phase of HVAF’s recovery program successfully and recently received keys to his own apartment with the help of HVAF’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. He spends his time during the week volunteering in HVAF’s kitchen where he prepares meals for his fellow veterans (the group is happy to tell you about his famous meatloaf, ribs, and mac and cheese).
Tom Tuttle, Ron’s SSVF case manager, says Ron’s transformation has created his desire to give back to the organization that helped him when he was in tremendous need.
“Ron stays active and serves a role model for other veterans in our housing program,” says Tom.
Nowadays, Ron enjoys stability, a peace of mind, a sense of self-worth and a drive to help out his surrounding community.