You make hope possible.

AJ

Thanks to you, AJ has found help to recover from addiction and reconnect with his family.

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"I enlisted in the U.S. Army knowing I would deploy. I knew it would help develop me into the man I wanted to be. I felt like I was giving something back.

I served overseas for about a year until I developed Crohn's disease. The last couple years of the six years I was enlisted I wasn’t as involved within my unit because of the disease.

The expectation when I returned was that things would fall in line. Things would go back to the way they were.

The reality is that it’s an extremely difficult transition.

You go from an environment where 24/7 decisions are being made for you. All the sudden, I had to make all these decisions accurately and appropriately. That was hard for me.

I had a couple events on the deployment that I still have issues with that make me anxious. I’m very observant now. I have nightmares and feel just overall agitated.

I developed an opioid addiction for the past couple years. My wife and I had separated. She was pregnant which made it even more difficult. We separated primarily because of my drug use and I would just get mad and start fights, because of my PTSD.

I became homeless. For about 11 months, I was bouncing from house to house. I’d be at someplace for a while then I’d do something stupid like steal something from there and try to go sell it for money so I could get more drugs.

When I found out I could get help at Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio, I jumped on the opportunity. I figured that was something that would absolutely benefit me. Obviously, something had not been working with my decision making so I was open to doing anything to help change it.

Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio’s programs have definitely been helpful. It helped me reevaluate my thinking process and the way that I look at things as well as being able to slow things down and have a better decision making process. The staff has been unbelievable. I feel comfortable talking to them and I know that if I come up with an issue, it will be resolved quickly.

There’s a vast judgment of homeless veterans as irresponsible. In reality, we’re victims of circumstance. It’s not something we did. There’s a lot of people suffering from PTSD, mental health issues and substance abuse. I don’t want people to make those knee jerk judgments against us that we’re irresponsible people.

I love my family. Even though I’ve done the things I’ve done, I’ve never stopped loving them.

It might seem like it, with the things that I’ve done. I don’t want people to think I’ve betrayed my family. I’ve loved them the entire time. I’m trying to get better so I can be better for myself and in turn be better for them.

In AJ's words: On coming back from the Army

When I found out I could get help at Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio, I jumped on the opportunity. I figured that was something that would absolutely benefit me. Obviously, something had not been working with my decision making so I was open to doing anything to help change it.

Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio’s programs have definitely been helpful. It helped me reevaluate my thinking process and the way that I look at things as well as being able to slow things down and have a better decision making process. The staff has been unbelievable. I feel comfortable talking to them and I know that if I come up with an issue, it will be resolved quickly.

There’s a vast judgment of homeless veterans as irresponsible. In reality, we’re victims of circumstance. It’s not something we did. There’s a lot of people suffering from PTSD, mental health issues and substance abuse. I don’t want people to make those knee jerk judgments against us that we’re irresponsible people.

I love my family. Even though I’ve done the things I’ve done, I’ve never stopped loving them.

It might seem like it, with the things that I’ve done. I don’t want people to think I’ve betrayed my family. I’ve loved them the entire time. I’m trying to get better so I can be better for myself and in turn be better for them."


With your support, we can help homeless young veterans, like AJ, to help continue their journey towards restoration and reunite them with their family.

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