Henry* was born on an Army base in Fort Allen, Puerto Rico. His grandfather served at the base and his father worked there as a civilian. The son of two Army veteran’s, his mother served as a nurse in the Army and his father was a chemical specialist. As a child, he enjoyed Army life and living in different places including in Germany, Italy, Greece and throughout the United States.
In 1997 Henry started his Army career in the military infantry and served at the Mexican border patrol. After his active duty, he was an Army Reservist station in Fort Bragg, SC, Fort Dix, NJ, and Ft. Lewis, TX. During his service he was deployed to Iraq for the Gulf, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom Wars.
After his service, he obtained his CDL license and became a trash truck driver for 20 years. Then he embarked on a new career in construction. Just five months into his new job, his life changed forever.
Long days on the road traveling to different construction sites were exhausting. Hans used the commute to catch up on his sleep. Unfortunately, the driver of the van fell asleep while driving and ran into a pole. Henry woke up in the hospital with a fractured hip, and elbow and 52 stitches in his head.
Offered Help and Hope
For Henry, it was time to make some changes in his life. That’s when he reached out to his VA social worker and asked for help. “I never knew the Veteran Program existed. I was blown away by all the help I received, “ he noted. Henry could focus all his energy on his rehabilitation and recovery instead of worrying about where he was going to stay or worrying about his next meal.
Henry and his fiancé got the support they needed to get through these challenging times. Kimberly Hartman, the case manager, was able to help them find permanent housing. “I served our country and now there were people out there who were going to help me. They were like angels sent from God,” he added. His case manager and the program provided both help and hope for this veteran.
Henry moved into his new apartment and continues to focus on increasing his strength and mobility. “I feel better about myself. I have hope and I know I can take care of myself,” noted Henry. He encourages other veterans to ask for help. “There are people out there who are willing to help you–you just have to ask.”
Opportunity House in Reading, Pennsylvania assists veterans who are experiencing homelessness and need emergency shelter. Services are available to Veterans regardless of the length of service or discharge status. Call us at 610-374-4696 ext 247 if you need shelter today.
*Name used to protect client confidentiality.