Roy escapes homelessness, finds calling helping other veterans

formerly homeless veteran studies prosthetics

Roy is a veteran who struggled with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for years but managed to keep his head above water. That is, until he got laid off from his position as a machinist.

In the blink of an eye, he was unemployed and living on his brother’s couch. The V.A. put him into vocational rehab. It turned out he had all the aptitudes that would make him great with prosthetics. It seemed like a great idea but the thought of trying to figure out how to pay rent somewhere, let alone trying to earn a degree, seemed too daunting.

That’s where you come in—when Roy moved into our housing for homeless veterans.

“Moving in was a big change for me,” he says. “I was really lost for a while there. They brought me back around in many ways.”

Treatment for his depression and PTSD lifted burdens that had held him back for a long time. “They were a support network that took all those pressures off me so I could focus on school and helping other veterans.” Roy has now been living on his own for over a year and is studying orthotic braces and prosthetic limbs at Spokane Falls Community College.

“It motivates me when I think of all the guys serving in the Middle East. I want to do my best to do good work and create things that help people function. It’s a way I can give back to other veterans.”

That’s not the only way Roy is giving back.

Roy recently donated more than 1,000 brand new Hot Wheels cars—from his personal collection amassed over twenty years—to Volunteers of America to distribute to kids in need. He also donated lots of backpacks, sleeping bags and other items to distribute through our shelters.

“When I lived in the vet’s house I saw how gracious and giving Jon and Dale on the staff were. They really served as role models for me. They helped me get to this new place where I want to get rid of some of the things that are cluttering my life. Like, I looked at my Hot Wheels and thought I’ve been carrying these around for so long and they could be in the hands of kids.

“I gave them to Volunteers of America because of how great I was treated. I know they do the same for other people. I just want to give back.”

You see, your support caused a chain reaction. Because of you, we had a bed waiting for Roy. You helped Roy to find himself and a new way of living. Now Roy is making life brighter for hundreds of veterans and kids. We hope Roy will inspire you to keep the chain going.