The Salvation Army Supports a Former Marine through Transition
"The Salvation Army is here to help people in transition," said Kenneth. "That is why I'm here."
Kenneth has come to The Salvation Army twice in the last two years to help him through major transitions in his life. "My mental illness had gotten out of control again, and I knew I needed help. I was starting to isolate myself, I was deeply depressed, and I was considering suicide. The VA Hospital's dual diagnosis program in Little Rock has a great reputation. I'm diagnosed with bipolar disorder with psychotic features and PTSD. Before I was put on medication, I self-medicated with cocaine."
So in 2011, Kenneth left his apartment in Oklahoma desperately seeking treatment. "I was originally diagnosed around 1999 at Ft. Roots in North Little Rock. So I knew their program. In Oklahoma, they can treat either mental illness or addiction, but the Little Rock VA program specifically specializes in dual-diagnosis: That is people who suffer from both mental illness and addiction."
When Kenneth arrived, he went immediately to the VA Drop-in Center and was put on the waiting list for a space in the program. But he had no place to stay until a bed opened up, and he was referred to The Salvation Army. "You have no idea how many veterans come through here (The Salvation Army) waiting to get into the VA, and you give them a roof over their head. Ya'll are just fantastic."
Kenneth completed the program and has lived the last year in an apartment subsidized by the VA program. But in 2012, his mother who was his primary support passed away. And in early 2013, his father was diagnosed with cancer.
"I don't have much time left with my father. I need to get home." So when Kenneth was discharged from the VA program, he came back to The Salvation Army to support him through another transition.
"Tomorrow, I'm getting on a Greyhound Bus and going home. I have my support system set up with the Oklahoma VA program. Now that I'm back on my medication and have nearly two years of sobriety from my cocaine addiction, I feel like I can finally be stable. When I'm medicated, I stay clean. I focus more clearly. I enjoy being social."
In addition to being a former Marine, Kenneth is a talented artist and at times has made a living selling his drawings and painting murals. Before he checked out of The Salvation Army Center of Hope in Little Rock, Kenneth left us a beautiful "thank you" gift. THANK YOU, KENNETH! We pray you find the peace and joy you've been looking for, for so long.
And THANK YOU Art Outfitters on 7th Street in Little Rock for donating the supplies for Kenneth's work. You are a blessing!
The Salvation Army supports thousands of veterans, families, and individuals through major life transitions each year through our shelter programs, church ministries, disaster relief and social service units. We provide food, shelter, and hope to our neighbors in need in central Arkansas. We cannot provide these services without the support of our community. If you or your group would like to volunteer your time, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to donate to The Salvation Army, please call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, 501-374-9296 mail your gift to 1111 West Markham, Little Rock, AR 72201 or make a donation online.