Approximately 23 million United States veterans are homeless according to the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). A year ago, this statistic applied to Anthony Davis. An Atlanta native, Davis found himself caught in the wrong crowd in his youth. Enlisting in the US Army was one way to a better life, and Davis took it. He is proud to have served his country from 1983 to 1987.
Grateful for the lessons he learned in the Army – such as teamwork, adherence to routine and following the chain of command – there were also downsides to military service. Work in the service was rigorous and structured, and some of the ways he and his fellow servicemen would lessen the stress of the work were not healthy outlets. “I got hooked on drugs and alcohol,” he says. Davis soon found himself back home battling drug addiction, worrying about child support payments and out of work.
“I have three boys and three girls,” Davis says. “At one point I realized I needed to rehabilitate and get my life back on track so I could provide for them. My service was over, and it was time to let my past be my past.”
After enrolling in Goodwill’s First Choice: Veterans program and GoodTransitions program, Davis was quickly busy with job trainings and certification classes. He had construction and safety training. He learned the ins and outs of flagging and obtained his forklift certification, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training. Shortly after completing his courses at Goodwill, Davis was offered a job.
For those who knew Davis a year ago, he is a changed man. “My record tells employers they don’t want me to work for them,” he says. “Goodwill helped me change and want to do better. I feel blessed that I was given a second chance.”