“We Don’t All Look Alike”

Navy Veteran Marvin Peppers served his country from 11979-1981 as a quartermaster on the USS Milwaukee. He grew up on a farm in Mississippi. “One day, I looked around, and all I saw was cows and soybeans. I said to myself, ‘I’m joining the Navy,’ and after high school, I did!”
“Our home port was Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and we went all over the Caribbean, the North Atlantic, and the Mediterranean, all the way to Morocco!”   

Mr. Peppers has been to St. Francis House before. “I lived in Arkansas previously, so I knew about the services. I have PTSD, partially from the military, but mainly from some things that happened when I was young. I didn’t know what was wrong, and overall I had a good life. I was married for twenty-two years; I have two daughters, one out in California and the other in Benton. My life doesn’t necessarily look like what someone thinks a Veteran with PTSD looks like, but in reality, we’re all different. It caused me to have a lot of instability in my life, and I self-medicated. Fifteen years ago, I came here, and I’ve been drug-free ever since.

Mr. Peppers’s wife died of cancer eight years ago and he began to suffer from depression. “I became more isolated, but I didn’t really think of myself as having a problem. And I never thought of myself as homeless. If I lived in a tent for three months, that was OK. I enjoyed the solitude, I read, I fished, I just thought of it as camping.” 

Mr. Peppers came back to St. Francis House six years ago as a way to help him deal with his depression and PTSD issues. “I was doing fine for six years, but I have realized I can’t have any drama or chaos in my life. I moved in with someone and when her son moved, he was doing a lot of drinking and partying, I had to get out. So I came back to St. Francis House once more.” 

Mr. Peppers continues to focus on maintaining his physical and mental health. He had been suffering from chronic fatigue for some time, and this stay at St. Francis House, his doctors were able to pinpoint the causes for that. A man of many talents and interests, he has a job and is saving up for his eventual move to Benton to be near his daughter.

“I have all sorts of certifications and things; school and learning have always been a comfort to me. And I have lots of hobbies. I even play classical guitar, but I sold my guitar to get back here to St. Francis House. I’m so grateful that served my country and I would do it again if I could. And even more grateful for all the classes and tests and care, that I could only find through the VA and St. Francis House. St. Francis House makes me save 75% of my income, it is giving me stability and time to focus on my physical and mental health. I can look people in the eye and engage with other people. The structure is a good thing; I am thankful and blessed and I know others don’t have these opportunities”.