“I’ve had issues with substance abuse my whole life since my early teens,” Gregory shared at our Hope Begins Here tour.
At age 17, Gregory joined the U.S. Air Force hoping for direction and a sense of purpose.
When he didn’t receive it in the military, he began to move from city to city and spiraled into a life of addiction, bad decisions and spent most of his early years in and out of jail.
It wasn’t unusual for Gregory to be homeless.
At age 47, he finally decided to marry and settled down for a while, but then after 13 years of marriage, his wife unexpectedly passed away in 2015.
To drown his grief, Gregory turned to what he knew best – drugs and alcohol. Then one day, he wanted to make a lasting change in his life, so he took a greyhound bus to the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center in Shreveport.
There, he was able to receive the help he needed… the help he deserved.
When the VA staff realized he didn’t have a place to live, they referred him to Volunteers of America North Louisiana’s Veterans Transitional Living Facility.
The 48-bed facility houses Veterans, like Gregory, who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. The program provides the basics of food, shelter and support, while their physical and mental health needs are taken care of by the VA medical center.
“I guess it was the good Lord,” Gregory shared. “I decided I was going to jump into my recovery and do what I needed to do this time.”
For 15 months, Gregory lived at our Veterans Home. Today, he has his own place to call home and he has been free from addiction for over two years. He is also now a Volunteers of America employee and works in our main kitchen located inside the Veterans Home.
“This is perfect for me, because I love cooking. I can walk to work. I know the guys here. When I come in, I just try to cook good food. I cook with love.”