Larry Moore, an Army and Navy veteran, recently celebrated a joyful 59th birthday with his twin brother, favorite cousin and fiancée in his home town of Oxford, NC. It was a relaxed and connected family visit that “would not have been possible before VTH,” Larry says.
He explains: after a total of 11 years in the service, Larry was discharged in 1987 because of drug use. He found himself alone at midnight on an icy night with $2 (and a joint) in his pocket. It took him three hours to walk home.
From then until 2007, Larry cycled in and out of sobriety programs and life on the street. A well-spoken, well-mannered southern gentleman, Larry “felt out of place” on the streets, but his powerful addictions, and self-esteem issues, kept pulling him back.
A succession of drug and alcohol treatment programs brought Larry to Connecticut and then to Brockton, MA, where he spotted one of the three vans we use to provide transportation for our clients. As a veteran, the name “Veteran’s Transition House” intrigued him. “I was tired of dealing with crises and consequences,” he says. “I didn’t like the way I was living and feeling. I was getting too old not to have anything to show for it.”
So Larry enrolled and moved in. Right away, the VTH case management staff began providing not just sobriety maintenance but the help and connections he so vitally needed to move forward.
“The main thing for me was finding employment,” he explains. “The staff immediately helped me transfer my Connecticut license to a Massachusetts one.” He wore a suit for interviews that had been donated to VTH. He even saw a car for sale nearby, and a fellow resident with a background as a mechanic helped him fix it up.
“Everything fell into place,” he says.
Because Larry had previously worked for special needs and vocational programs, his case manager helped link him with positions at the May Institute and the MA Department of Mental Health. He’s been employed ever since.
“When I moved to New Bedford in 2007, I had no family and no connections,” says Larry. “VTH provided so many connections, and a base to work from. Since I’ve been here, I’ve connected with people in recovery, found a church, made friends and met my fiancée. I found a brand new home.”
Larry, who admits that he needed to go through the VTH program twice, has been sober for a year now, and has his own apartment
“This is good quality help,” Larry explains. “It’s so much more than just a treatment program. VTH gives you a hand up, but you’ve got to exert yourself, too. You’ve got to get back on your feet and take care of yourself.”
And now, Larry is helping other veterans.
VTH was recently awarded a grant from the VA for a new program that provides outreach to area at-risk veterans who might be falling through the cracks. Although Larry was very happy with his current job, he was intrigued when he saw the position of full-time Outreach Specialist posted at VTH.
Says VTH Executive Director Jim Reid, “Once we were awarded the grant, I set up a committee to interview for the positions of Outreach Specialist, Housing Specialist and the Lead Case Manager. We’d gotten to the Outreach position, and felt we didn’t have the right person for the job, so I asked about Larry and he was available for an interview. He interviewed well and all three of us unanimously selected him. He has the skill set necessary for the position and we felt that he was the perfect person for the job.
Larry wore his donated suit for the interview.
He was hired and began work at the beginning of October. Larry and his new colleagues have already made numerous contacts and inroads into the community and are poised to help even more veterans take charge of their lives. His excitement about being able to provide help from a personal place is palpable.
Larry working a booth at a bike ride.
“I can tell them, ‘there was a time when I was homeless, and drinking. I know how you feel,’” he says.
Larry will be drawing on his years of hard-won experience and his new-found connections to help fellow veterans get back on their feet. He’ll be using his experience as a counselor and helper to extend VTH’s reach even further into the community.
“I wouldn’t be here without these people,” says Larry, citing individual VTH case managers and staff who helped him along the way. He couldn’t be more pleased to now be part of the VTH staff team. “Sometimes, I think everything happens for a reason,” he explains, “this is definitely the path I was meant to be on.”
When asked if we could use his full name and details, and if he’d be willing to talk to our supporters about his journey, Larry readily assents. He is proud of where he is in life, and proud to be a VTH “success story.”