Before Greg, 59, enlisted in the U.S. Army, he had aspirations to travel the world and to make a steady living as a pianist. Today, Greg is still playing the piano. But, his travels took him down a different path back.
|Greg playing keyboard at Moreau Apartments
Somewhere along the way, Greg says he fell through the cracks. His job ended abruptly at the music shop and his living arrangements deteriorated. He was unable to hold down a job. In 2014, he ended up homeless.
“From being on the street, going to shelters I have come a long way and I don’t take anything for granted. Because I love people. I play for people.”
In March 2015, Greg settled in to his new room at Moreau Apartments – one of 15 transitional housing facilities offered through HVAF. He worked with Case Manager, Isaiah Tworek. Not only is HVAF offering him a new start, it is also offering him new keys to create music with.
“I like to inspire people who are still struggling like I was and fellow veterans can hear me play music as they walk down the halls each day,” said Greg, who plays the keyboard at Moreau.
And if there’s one group of people that Greg cares about, it’s homeless, out-of-work veterans, including those with drug- and alcohol-abuse problems or post-traumatic stress disorder.
“While the military structures one’s life,” says Greg, “it is after military, with no structure, the cracks can prove destabilizing during the important readjustment period.” Instead of reaching out, retired military tend to ignore symptoms and self-medicate with alcohol and/or drugs. I turned to alcohol. I couldn’t sustain employment. I couldn’t pay rent or pay for groceries. It all just kind of fell apart, and then I was homeless,” adds Greg.
“With so many barriers before him, Greg strives on a daily basis to secure employment. He never gives up or gets discouraged and he presents himself with a positive attitude as he attempts each early morning to tackle the world. He has had two months of sobriety and is completely proud of his work, as are we,” says Isaiah.
“I’m not used to this. Once in a while, when I’m in my room, I’ll think “do I really deserve this?”
Greg worked as a piano technician for 30 years and could spend hours listening to classical music, especially Ludwig van Beethoven.
He recently attended a job readiness workshop for veterans and after completion received a congressional honor given by Congressman Andre Carson, and a special thank you award was given by Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly.
Now that he is employed with G2 Secure Staff he has discovered through his recovery that “everyone needs help” and that “the biggest thing people need to know” – especially if they’re dealing with a veteran who is just returning home from war is “don’t turn your back on them; help them.”
Greg still plays the piano and still listens to Beethoven and says music is a calming force in his life.
Note: Greg is also a skilled carpenter. In the 1970’s he joined his father to renovate rental properties across Indianapolis. His work included the installation of the wine rack at O’Malia’s (now Marsh) grocery store.
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