Army Veteran Daryl Walker served his country from 2006-2010 as a light-wheel mechanic and later as a logistics clerk. A native of California, he joined the Army a year after High School and was stationed first in South Carolina, then Korea, and finally back to Ft. Irwin, California.
After leaving the Army, he worked for the Department of Defense doing government contracts and acquisitions for military deployments. “I worked hard and long, and soon I had to take a break. I was diagnosed with PTSD and went for treatment at the VA in Loma Linda.”
Not one to stay down for long, Mr. Walker got a job through the Compensated Work Therapy program. He worked in housekeeping quickly turned that into a full-time job. He made supervisor within the year, and he was slipping back into old habits without even realizing it. “I was working around the clock, helping with training and revising policies for EMS infection control, and I began to forget to take care of myself. Eventually, I had a breakdown.“
One of Mr. Walker’s good friends suggested he come to Arkansas to the Foot Root program. “I needed a total change of place, and he was there for me. He bought me a bus ticket, and I stayed with him until I got into the Foot Root program. After leaving Foot Root, Mr. Walker was supposed to go to a different program, but he found a therapist he really liked and came to St. Francis House instead. He successfully graduated from the St. Francis House program in November 2019. “I never really left St. Francis House. I kept in touch with Garry, and he would come to pick me up for meetings every Saturday, one week at his church and the next back at St. Francis.”
When a part-time job opened up at St. Francis House, Mr. Walker applied, and there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that he would be a great fit. Mr. Walker has been an employee of St. Francis House ever since, moving into a full-time position when it became available.
Mr. Walker continues to be happiest when he is busy and working towards goals. But this time, he is doing things that help keep him mentally and spiritually healthy. Mr. Walker is active in his church and hoping to get training to do youth work. He is going back to school, and perhaps most exciting, he will soon be moving into his own home. “I got a call from Ms. Chastine at St. Francis House. First Service Bank was working with Habitat for Humanity and wanted their house to go to a Veteran. I applied, and soon, I’ll have my own home.”
It says a lot about Mr. Walker’s values that he put several things in the foundation when it was poured: three Bibles in a triangle and a Department of Veteran Affairs in the center. “It might seem silly, but one of the things that I have enjoyed the most is picking out little things like knobs and faucets. I’m doing my “sweat equity” at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, but I’m hoping to do at least a little construction as well. Most importantly, this home will mean security which I haven’t had for a very long time. It will be mine.”