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!
William Childers is a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps.