The Power of GratitudeMarch 30, 2015
Vietnam veteran finds his way at HVAFMarch 30, 2015
|Thomas (left), Stan (center) and Whitney (right)
We first introduced you to Whitney H. in our February e-newsletter. Homeless and in recovery he entered HVAF’s REST program in July 2014. On March 13, he joined fellow veterans Stan and Thomas in a graduation ceremony. The room was filled with family, friends, and supporters who listened to their accomplishments, struggles and successes in recovery.
“It takes commitment, patience and a lot of humility, and they are a testimony to all three of those qualities,” said Curtis Williamson, MSW, who helps run the REST program at HVAF of Indiana.
For Whitney, it’s a struggle he’s been dealing with for 30 years.
“I was a mess,” said the Army veteran. “I started off with beer, then liquor, then marijuana, then I went to cocaine… I started trying to get clean and sober since 1985 but I was rebellious. I thought I knew it all. I didn’t want to take any suggestions.”
When he graduated from REST, his ex-wife and friend Cynthia was there to see it happen.
“I was just overwhelmed with joy,” she said. “It’s been a long journey for Whitney and I’ve seen his struggle and today is definitely the highest point of his life. I’m very proud of him.”
Whitney says you have to be ready to do some work and self-evaluation if you want to see change.
“There’s no wand or nothing that’s going to be waved over you and things are going to be alright. You’ve got to do some work, you got to want it,” adds Whitney. “It is the first time I really accomplished something in my life that I’m really proud of,” said Hamilton. “My final goal was to be clean and sober and that’s the way I plan to stay the rest of my life.”
Whitney is working with Mark Lykins, a case manager, at HVAF on a housing search. After he is accepted into a unit, Mark will enroll him in the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program at HVAF and assist financially. He also will receive case management while enrolled in SSVF to help with the transition into permanent housing.