July 18 at 10:56am

Once homeless veteran now seeks to take flight

Mike-Davis-VASD-Client-Headshot_300Michael Davis, 57, was flying high at one time. While in the Air Force, he was an avionics technician on the then-new F-15 fighter. After leaving the Air Force, he worked with a defense contractor, occasionally crossing paths with top military officials.

But it was a job much closer to the ground that began a downward spiral of depression and homelessness.

While driving a semi-truck, Davis lost control and rolled, sustaining injuries to his upper and lower back, his shoulder, and breastbone. Insurance and workman’s compensation questioned his injuries, Davis said. “One doctor said everything was fake. Every other doctor said it was real, but the insurance company took that one doctor’s opinion,” Davis said. “They wouldn’t pay support. I ended up on the street.” Davis was homeless five times over the next 10 years, moving through Portland, Phoenix and San Diego. At one point, things were so bad that Michael considered suicide.

Recognizing he needed help, Davis contacted Interfaith, which found him a spot at Merle’s Place, a transitional housing program for veteran. “I needed a safe place to work on my issues. You can’t do it on the street,” said Davis.

Interfaith helped Davis determine his eligibility for Veterans Retraining funds and military service partial disability. Those resources allowed Davis to begin taking classes at Palomar College and move into an apartment with a roommate after three months in Merle’s Place.

While going to school, studying internet marketing, Davis patches together a variety of jobs to keep himself afloat. His most successful gig now is driving for Uber, a taxi-like company that arranges appointments and payment through smartphones. Davis drives a 2014 Prius, obtained through an Uber program, and working a 40-hour week. Uber allows its drivers to work as much as they want, while providing supplemental commercial insurance.

Davis looks back to the assistance he received from Interfaith as a catalyst for his success.

“Interfaith was the stepping stone. It gave me the ability to reprogram my thinking patterns so I could get out of my depression,” he said. “Interfaith was the last step I needed in my recovery. Since I left, life has been great.”