“Live the best years of your life,” is Robert Hawkins mantra. This 63-year-old Army veteran is full of energy and still has plenty of goals for himself.
In 1977, Robert enrolled in the Army and began his career as a small weapons specialist and ended his six year military career as a missile crewman in Germany. His military service was a springboard to his civilian life where he worked in various ship yards, ran a cleaning crew, and owned a carpentry business for 15 years.
To the outside world he looked like a success. Internally, he was struggling. “I was a functional addict,” Jim notes. “I thought I was handling my PTSD, but I wasn’t. I didn’t want to ask for help. I thought men could just tough it out.” But he soon realized until he addressed these unresolved issues they would control his life.
He entered a drug and alcohol facility in West Virginia and began working on becoming a better version of himself. It was difficult and challenging. Eventually he relapsed and sought additional help from the Lebanon VA. “You’re an adult and you have to do the work. They offered more help and support along the way. The people were considerate and understanding,” noted Robert.
Thanks to the support of the VA team, Robert was connected to the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program (SSVF Program) at Opportunity House. They provided housing support for him which led to his new job at a local hotel. His years of being a self-proclaimed neat freak boded well for this new role. He’s working and getting help for his PTSD. Today, he has a new goal to be in stable housing near his 7 grandchildren. “This is my last go round. I want to give 100% and make the next 10 years the best years of my life,” he added. The SSVF program has Robert on the right path.
Supportive Services for Veteran Families provides intensive case management services to eliminate homelessness by providing rental assistance, utilities assistance and healthcare