Donald Stephens, an Army Veteran currently housed at St. Francis House under the VA Homeless Veterans Program, served his country from 1981 through 1988. He was a cook and a truck driver and spent two years stationed in Korea.
“My father was Airforce so we moved a lot. And we were a big family to move- four girls and four boys! I went to two semesters of college at Grambling just like my brothers, but then I decided to join the Army.
“I worked as a truck driver when I got out and then in retail. I started having problems adjusting to civilian life. I was living in Shreveport and I ended up in Little Rock because of the programs here. In fact, the VA sent me here because there were no long-term programs in Shreveport. I have some mental health problems and addiction problems. I’ve been at Fort Root several times and I was here at St. Francis House back in ’99. ”
Mr. Stephens is currently working on getting his military benefits and health claims straightened out, but that’s not stopping him in his recovery. “I’ve been clean since January and I like who I am; I like who I see in the mirror and I want my mom to see who I am today and not who I was before I was clean.”
Mr. Stephens may leave Little Rock after leaving St. Francis House to be with his mother and two sisters. “I didn’t get to say good-bye to my dad before he died; I want to spend as much time with my family now as I can.”
“But if I say in Little Rock, I hope I can help Veterans like St. Francis House has helped me. I want to stay connected.” In the meantime, Mr. Stephen says he meditates, talks to his sponsor, prays and reads his Bible to help him in his daily journey. “I’m grateful that God gave me a spiritual awakening that helps me maintain my sobriety. I’m up for the challenge; I’m winning!”