You make hope possible.

Gary's Story

In six words: Got what he wanted. Life repurposed.

Gary never liked to play by the rules. He left the Navy because they expected him to follow their order. He spent the next 16 years “losing jobs and losing relationships.” Gary’s “wild” lifestyle included drinking, drugs and partying. A self-proclaimed manipulator, he used whomever he could to continue his lifestyle.  “I would lie, cheat and steel – whatever it took to get what I wanted.”

Living this easy-come, easy-go life eventually left Gary in a motel room alone. He attempted to end his life with a razor blade but woke up in the psychiatric ward of a hospital. Doctors said that people who lose that much blood don’t normally survive. Members of a local church who visited him said that this was a sign from God that Gary will go on to accomplish great feats in his life. He was granted a second chance.  “I didn’t really want to die. I just didn’t know how to live.”

Gary came to the Volunteers of America temporarily, but found no other program to accept him. He didn’t want to stay: “I hated everything about this program, but I needed everything about it.”

He was faced with rules he didn’t want to follow and bunking with other men reminded him too much of the military lifestyle he left behind. However, when men within the program held him accountable for his actions, he was amazed by the result: following the rules produced a reciprocal effect from others. The more you give, the more you get.  “My life completely changed in one year.”

He learned the value of submitting to the guidance of his case manager and following the personal improvement plan developed for him.   Gary now works for an engineering firm and is in charge of managing the administration of multi-million dollar projects. A fact by which he is completely awestruck.