Client Spotlight: Changed by Hawley

John's Story

Battling more fights than he could take on alone, John, a homeless army veteran, was struggling to cope with life, the aftermath of being in the army, and the ache he felt of having nowhere to call home. As his world had become too heavy for him to lift on his own, he was introduced to Hawley Veterans Service Center, a 20 bed transitional living facility for homeless veterans. John recalls the first morning he spent at Hawley after he moved in, "I walked out of my room with a cup of coffee in my hand, looked at the beauty of the world and was at peace. I was at peace knowing I was not going to have to worry about where to sleep and if I would be safe day to day. I thought to myself, life is looking up."

After completing 9 months at Hawley, John had been able to return to school for employment training, save enough money to be stable on his own, have a strong and healthy recovery from two necessary knee surgeries, and land a job as a case-aid at the very place where he turned his life around. "Hawley provides men with the community and resources to change their lives and achieve stability in order to acquire the tools to live independently." John credits a lot of his success to Hawley and is exceptionally happy that while at Hawley he rekindled his true passion of painting. Painting his struggles, his life, and the beauty he sees, John is able to show the world some of his story, a story many other veterans have shared. "I want my art to be an inspiration to those veterans who are still struggling and to educate the public about the battles veterans fight years after they leave the service." Using his past experiences and artistic talent John not only paints murals at Hawley to add a sense of community and give back to the center, but teaches art classes to the men on Wednesday evenings.

By placing his faith and trust in god, John found his way to Hawley and from there found his way to a better life than the one he was living. "Volunteers of America Southwest has had a tremendous impact on my life by providing resources for me to have a second chance at life. Men are transforming through the guidance and tools received at Hawley; this is a chance for men to start over and truly bloom." Hawley Veterans Center allows single male veterans to get back on their feet in a safe, sober, and productive environment where they receive training, assistance, and community support. Clients walk into Hawley feeling lost, isolated, and abandoned, but they leave with a feeling of gratitude, hope, and strength.