Some Things Are More Important Than Work

Keeping your life in balance is a lesson that Air Force Veteran John Lewis has learned the hard way. Mr. Lewis, a Veteran currently house at St. Francis House under the VA Homeless Veterans Program, served his country from 1977 to 1981 as a jet airplane mechanic. He was stationed everywhere from Illinois to the Philippines and Germany.

“I was born and raised here in Arkansas. I was planning on going to college, but I lost my scholarship due to a  football injury. We couldn’t afford tuition, so the military was my way out.” 

Unfortunately, it was still not to be. When Mr. Lewis left the service, his father was ill, and he came home to work and help take care of the family. When his father died, he stayed in his hometown of Osceola to help his mother. “I worked construction there until my mom passed in 1988.”

Mr. Lewis then moved to Little Rock.  ‘I had a good ride and lots of adventures. I’ve always been a sports nut, so the best was coaching the Arkansas Twisters from 2000-2010.”

He got married in 2010 and worked hard to provide a good life for himself and his wife. “Sometimes, I was working three jobs so I could be a good provider, and that’s where I went wrong. My doctor said I literally worked myself to death. I developed congestive heart failure. My marriage fell apart, and eventually, she left.  I was left with no place to live. The VA helped get me into St. Francis House.”

Mr. Lewis is currently working on getting all his documentation for benefit eligibility. “My goals are to keep my health so I can stay independent for as long as possible. I appreciate the people that make this program possible. I have a roof over my head while I get back on my feet; it’s a fantastic program. I would tell any veteran never to give up; there’s always something out there for you if you ask for help. Places just like St. Francis House.”