As one of 10 siblings, James D. looked out for his siblings especially after losing his mother when he was just 12 years old. After high school, he was looking for a new adventure. This York, Pennsylvania native visited an Army recruiter with a friend and they both enlisted. “It was a good decision and it was new and exciting for me,” he added. He worked in the communications field after his basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Fort Hood, Texas and completed a tour of duty in Korea.
After his service, he returned to York, Pennsylvania and began working at a local steel mill. His future looked promising until he got mixed up with the wrong crowd. “I focused on myself, no one else mattered to me,” he remarked. Then he began to turn his life around and became clean and sober. Unfortunately, his previous poor decisions had him serve time in prison.
When he was released from prison, he needed a fresh start and decided to come to the Reading area. “I knew I needed to change the people, places and things in my life,” he added. He rented a room and began to rebuild his new life. But the biggest obstacle was his pride. “I was afraid to ask for help,” said James. He got a job and continued to work to get his own apartment.
He met Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) caseworker, Kim Hartman who made it easy to share his concerns and his feelings. “She made me comfortable and made it easy to tell her what was going on in my life. I was able to put it all out on the table,” said James. Kim assured him that the SSVF was ready to assist him to avoid eviction. She told him that he was not helpless but in need of a helping hand. That made all the difference to James.
Today, James is thriving in his own apartment and working part-time at a local manufacturing plant. He no longer faces eviction and he’s glad he reached out for help. “Ask for help as soon as you realize you need it. Don’t wait, it just makes things worse,” noted this seasoned Army veteran. “A closed mouth does not get fed,” he remarked. “You have to ask for help and be willing to accept it.” Great advice from a man who knows the benefits of working with Supportive Services for Veteran Families at Opportunity House.