Once homeless Marine Corps Veteran grateful for his VA health care team


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My name is William Childers. I am 49 years old and I served in the United States Marine Corps from November 1984 – November 1988. During my active military tour, I was stationed in North Carolina, California and detailed in Hawaii.

I came to the John D. Dingell, Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team (H-PACT) in Detroit, Michigan on July 10, 2013 for help.

When I began care at the Community Resource and Referral Center, I was very depressed and my health was challenging because my left leg was recently amputated. Before my amputation, I worked for Ford Motor Company for 25 years as a die setter. I attended regular, scheduled appointments with my podiatrist due to my diabetes. One day, I noticed I had a blister on the upper part of my foot and had it lanced. Unfortunately, I developed gangrene that resulted in losing the lower part of my left leg.

I had never used my military benefits, because I had private insurance my entire work life. As time went on, things continued to spiral downward. I moved in with my parents, which did not work out so well. In the process of trying to get help, I ended up homeless. I then decided to use my military benefits and turned to the VA for help. That is how I ended up at the H-PACT clinic at the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit, Michigan. I received help from the social workers, the mental health staff and the H-PACT medical clinic.

From there, I was referred to a grant and per diem program called Safe Step where I resided for approximately two and half months. Afterwards, I obtained housing, moving into an apartment in Wayne, Michigan. I was in an apartment for 18 months and then was introduced to Habitat for Humanity.

Along the way, I continued to receive care from the H-PACT clinic where they always provided individualized care for me. No matter what day or time it was, I could always call or walk into the clinic to be seen. I was never treated like a number. Even though I am no longer homeless or at risk for being homeless, I do not want to leave the H-PACT clinic because I get the best care the VA has to offer in the little building with people who have big hearts. When I come into the clinic, I feel like a real person. They give me toiletries, they genuinely ask if I’m okay and if I’m in need

The building is conveniently located off site so I do not have to walk so far to the lobby, which is very important to me because of my prosthetic leg. The H-PACT will even offer and provide transportation to main hospital if I feel I cannot make it.

Words cannot explain the care the H-PACT has provided and I thank them all from the bottom of my heart. Even though I now have my Social Security disability and pension from Ford Motor Company, I will continue to seek the care from the H-PACT Team because I know they truly care and they were there when I needed them the most.

Thank You, H-PACT, for all your help!


Image of Willaim ChildersWilliam Childers is a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Doris Cruz    

    How do you become a volunteer? I will like some info. Thanks

  2. thomas gomez sr    

    EVER WONDER WHY FOX NEWS NEVER EVER ONCE! TELLS THE WORLD THE GOOD THINGS THE VA DOES ? THEY GO OUT OF THERE WAY TO TELL US THE NEGATIVE THINGS! ! AS VETERANS WE ARE VERY LUCKY TO HAVE THE VA! THEY TRULY CARE ABOUT US!AND I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE VA! ALL VETERANS SHOULD LET THEM KNOW YOU ARE GRATEFUL TO THEM! GOD BLESS AMERICA! THE ONLY COUNTRY ON EARTH THAT CONSIDERS THEIR VETERANS SACRED !

  3. Dewitt    

    My brother died of agent orange contamination and I had to care for him with my mother I buried him in 1982 and I want the benefits that he was entitled to get. The VA hospital removed frontal lobes from his brain end of struggle he went out like a blade of grass lost all functions including speech. What agency is responsible for paying me his benefits?

  4. Nicholas Coconato    

    God bless the people who love to talk and help others.Not all have that ability , without without them it would be a very sad place . God bless you all again

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