By: VETcare HVRP Staff
Aaron is a U.S. Army Veteran who served from June 1996 to October 1998 as an infantry soldier. During his tenure, he witnessed the deaths of several friends and fellow servicemembers. Unable to manage his trauma, Aaron turned to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. In 1998, he was discharged from the Army and returned to Oregon to be closer to family where he struggled with symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In response to the symptoms, he resorted to gangs, drugs, alcohol, and violence as a result. He was charged, convicted, and sentenced to prison for 17 years.
During time in prison, his mother passed away. Despite struggling with trauma, Aaron was released in 2016 and returned to his old ways, where he faced more challenges after losing his father in 2017 and two sisters in the following years. Struggling with symptoms of PTSD, Aaron managed to find love despite enduring many relationship challenges. However, just when things could not get any worse, Aaron’s roommate kicked him out of their residence and his girlfriend ended their relationship. At this point, he was at an all-time low and felt like no other solutions were there. Despite his barriers and setbacks, Aaron remained hopeful.
A Collaborative Solution:
Aaron signed up for VETCare’s Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP), working directly with his case manager and employment specialist. He was able to secure a food handler’s certification card and applied to numerous employment locations. It was not long until he received offers from Denny’s and The Best Little Roadhouse restaurant. Today, Aaron is currently working as a cook where he enjoys the atmosphere and is regaining some stability in his life.
In Aaron’s Own Words:
“I don’t look at VETcare as an assistance program. I look at it as a second chance,” says Aaron. “Kudos to all the staff at VETcare including Jennifer from HVRP for helping me find employment and sticking with me.”