February 22 at 8:32pm

Interfaith’s wrap-around services helps local veteran return to self-sufficiency

America is privileged to field the best-trained military force in the world. However, some veterans find their skills don’t immediately transfer to a civilian job market. Others face severe challenges adjusting to civilian life, and many are coping with the debilitating effects of injuries and disabilities.

Greg joined the Marines shortly after graduating from high school and served in the infantry for four years. During that time, he completed his training at Camp Pendleton and served in both Okinawa and Korea. Once his commitment to the Marines was up, he moved to Oregon with his wife to be closer to both his sister and mother.  Greg lived happily in Oregon for nearly 25 years, until his wife died in a tragic accident. “I just needed to get away,” said Greg. “I just needed a break and something new.”

He bounced around different cities for a few years, working both in fish & game industry in Alaska and as a security guard in Las Vegas, until he ended up back in San Diego. Unfortunately, due to the manual labor he had subjected his body to over the course of the last few years, Greg needed a hernia operation and couldn’t work.  With no more income, he lost his home and was forced to turn to the streets.

Health complications once again struck Greg a few years later; one night while sleeping on the streets, he tripped over a lip in the sidewalk and fell, breaking his elbow. Greg ended up in the hospital and while he was recovering, a social worker, realizing how difficult it would be for Greg to recover from surgery while living on the street, connected him to Interfaith’s Recuperative Care Program.

“I never thought breaking my elbow would be a godsent, but it got me to Interfaith,” said Greg.

After recovering from his injury in the Recuperative Care Program, Greg was transferred to one of Interfaith’s transitional housing programs for veterans in Oceanside. With a roof over his head, Greg began focusing his efforts on securing employment; he started attending job trainings, resume workshops, job interview prep courses and more. Interfaith also helped him set up an email account, provided him with professional clothing for job interviews, and gave Greg bus passes so he had transportation to and from interviews.

“Interfaith allowed me to focus on getting better and my future,” said Greg. “Everyone here has been so helpful.”

Today, Greg is still living in Interfaith’s transitional housing program. However, thanks to a new job he has secured with Shell, Greg is focusing on building up his savings to get a home of his own.  “I am so thankful,” said Greg. “Everyone at Interfaith – and I’ve been here awhile – has been so nice to me.”

For more information on how you can help veterans like Greg, please contact Robert Adams, Chief Development Officer, at (760) 489-6380 or via email at radams@interfaithservices.org.