A Shining Soul

Alex Litzsey, a Veteran recently housed at St. Francis House under the VA Homeless Veterans Program, served in the Army as an armored personnel driver from 1976-1978 in South Korea.

When you first meet Mr. Litzsey, he can seem a little gruff. But if you’re lucky enough to get to talk with him, you realize he has a shining soul. A native of Pine Bluff. He came from a family of twenty children of which seventeen still survive, and most still live in Arkansas. “Mom is 86 and still going strong!” Before joining the Army, he was with Jobcore and worked as a carpenter, painter, and plumber.

After leaving the service, he returned to Arkansas where he worked in manufacturing and construction. “In all these years, I’ve never had my own home; I lived with other people or was homeless. “

“I’m an alcoholic, and I’ve also used drugs. I’m very much ashamed of how I’ve lived. I wanted to change but never did”. Nine years ago, he made his first step on that journey. He went into detox and drug rehab at Fort Root and then to St. Francis House. “There were some fantastic people at Ft. Root and St. Francis House. I’ve actually known Mr. Clemmons for twenty years now. But what they say is true- the first drink will get you, and you go back to the old ways.”

Mr. Litzsey is back at St. Francis House, and he is not shy about telling you what’s different. “It was years until I was ready to make the right step. At 61, I finally made my mind up. This time I was determined. I finished rehab and came back here. I’m here to be successful. I’m around good people like Mike- he can always make me laugh. And Gary is always there when you need him. I might not always like what he has to say, but it’s what I need to hear. And Mr. Ken- he’s always the one who’s cool, calm and collected. I’m grateful to the program; my sincerity is truthful. I try to volunteer any way I can, and I’ll continue in Aftercare because staying busy and focused helps. You have to be serious about recovery; I’m not here to play.”

Currently, Mr. Litzsey has completed his paperwork for housing, found a place to stay and is waiting on the final inspection. Because of a hip injury, he is not able to work full time so he has completed his SSI paperwork and will soon have an income. He is hoping to volunteer at McClelland VA Hospital here in Little Rock. “I’ll finally have my own place and will pay my own way. I thank the Lord for blessing me with this place and people like Gary and Mike. If any Veteran needs help, the staff at St. Francis House will help you.”