Thursday, May 18, 2017

Vietnam Veteran Helping Others When They Have No Home

Vietnam medic now heals lives of fellow vets
By Kathleen Toner
May 18, 2017

Wheaton, Illinois (CNN)As a medic with the U.S. Marines, Bob Adams put his life on the line for his men in some of the most intense battles of the Vietnam War.

After returning home, he faced another devastating fight.
CNN Hero Bob Adams
"The war followed me home," Adams said. "I began to drink more heavily and use drugs. And that would help sometimes with what I didn't know I had, which was post-traumatic stress."

Adams struggled for more than a decade -- enduring a stretch of homelessness -- before he got sober in 1985. By the mid-90s, he was a clinical social worker specializing in PTSD. He started feeding the homeless in Chicago and realized that many of the people on the streets were veterans.

"I began to see signs: 'Vietnam veteran. Will work for food,' " Adams said. "It was pretty clear that something had gone very, very wrong."

"Marines do not leave anyone behind. ... To see that code being broken shocked me into action."

Adams developed a plan to help, and his efforts gained momentum in 2004 when he met Dirk Enger, a U.S. Marine and Gulf War veteran who shared his passion. In 2007, they opened the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans in a clapboard, single-family home that accommodated five veterans.

Today, the nonprofit provides nearly 400 veterans a year with free assistance, including housing and counseling.

The group's transitional housing program helps veterans for up to two years. Residents do chores, attend 12-step classes and spend four hours a day seeking employment or acquiring job skills. The five residents become a squad of sorts.
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