Written by Bret McLemen
I had a rather short career in the military. I was stationed on a submarine in Vallejo, California where I got to go down in the sub every day. Unfortunately, I never actually got the chance to go in the water and go somewhere as my boat was always stationed on a dry dock. While I was working to be a machinist, I had to leave the military after a couple years for medical reasons and was not in long enough to make this a reality.
The past couple of years I’ve been in and out of places and homeless. I spent about a year in an insurance building parking lot in Simi Valley where they now have chained fences because of people like me. While staying there, I once went 7 days without food and, while it didn’t end well, the experience did teach me a lot. Now I know my limits.
I’ve been here and there and everywhere for the past couple of years, but I now have a place to call home. I ended up being the first person to move into a unit at Ormond Beach Villas. While they told me to be out of the motel by 10:30am, I was at the site a little before 9:00am and bothered them until they decided they better just assign me my unit. I was shocked at how big it was when I first walked in. I didn’t expect it to be like that.
Now that I am housed, I’m going to try and get a job. Although I haven’t worked in a few years, I don’t like being idle and not doing anything. I have to do something, otherwise it might drive me nuts. While I am so happy to be here, I know there are a lot of veterans out there who are much worse off than I ever was. Even though I was homeless, I still had my car the whole time. I walk past people that are a little bit less fortunate than me, and it just bothers the heck out of me to see them so desperately needing help. I hope that they can get everybody off the street and help them like they have helped me.
We definitely need more projects like this.