A Spirit of Independence

 For John R., being one of six siblings in a family with a loving mother and father who was a general surgeon seemed like an idyllic life. But sometimes the things we love the most, hold us back from reaching our full potential.

After growing up in the Pottsville, Pennsylvania area, John joined the US Army during the Vietnam era.  His career started as a cook then transferred to moving rations, a job that better suited his personality.

John used his Army-acquired warehousing skills in various warehouse positions for major companies. He also worked in nearly every aspect of construction from roofing to bridge building.

In 1985, our country looked for Navy reservists and John heeded the call to serve once again.  He put his warehousing skills to use as a seaman serving on a minesweeper in the Chesapeake Bay and on the USS Perry.

When he wasn’t serving our country, John lived with his mother.  After her passing, he moved in with his brother and then his sister.  Living with siblings can be a challenge. “My sister and I didn’t get along and I knew I had to live on my own,” noted John.  He was referred to the Veterans Program at Opportunity House.  “I was surprised how quickly they found housing for me. I had a lot less stress in my life,” he added.

Through the Veterans Program, John was connected to resources to help him achieve his goal to live independently.  “I have a sense of independence.  I make decisions for myself and am no longer overly reliant on my family,” added John.  

John credits his case worker, Kim Long, for help in his time of need with fast and efficient case management.  With his newfound confidence, John encourages others to take the first step to a better life.  “I am grateful for the opportunity to get a fresh start and for all the things Kim did for me.”

Are you a homeless Veteran in need of shelter and support?  Contact Opportunity House at 610-374-4696 ext 247.

Effective 10/1/22 Catholic Charities manages the Supportive Services for Veteran Families grant. For assistance, please call Catholic Charities at (610) 435-1541.


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