“I Still Have a Lot to Learn”

Johnny Holliday, a Navy Veteran currently housed at St. Francis House under the VA Homeless Veterans Program, served his country from 1976 through 1982. Born in Illinois, he moved to Arkansas to live with his grandparents while in High School. He joined the Navy right after he graduated and though stationed in Norfolk, served in numerous places in Europe, the Caribbean, and the Black Sea. “I did all sorts of things- demolitions, sharpshooter, gun crew, infantry, seaman.”

After he left the Navy, he moved back to Chicago. “When I first got back I couldn’t find a job so I started my own construction business. Over the years, I’ve had a variety of jobs- worked for the city, worked for Lockheed-Martin…I even went out to California for a while and taught at the University of San Diego. I got involved with selling drugs while in Chicago and I moved back to Arkansas to get away. I  got married, divorced and eventually went back to Chicago. I started selling again and truthfully, I made a lot of money. I helped my ex-wife and my grandmother….but it was too much, too quick. I got caught and went to jail in 2015.”

Mr. Holliday spent five years in prison and when he was released, he was released in Arkansas. He was referred to St. Francis House by the VA and came to St. Francis House.  “I’m looking forward to getting close to my family again and hoping I’ll be able to start my own business when I leave. St. Francis House is a good program and it will work of you stay true to it. If you don’t, you’re just wasting everyone’s time and there are lots of other people who need it. I’m still going through it; I know I have a lot to learn, but I’m staying true.”