I’m a Lucky Man to be Here!

Eighty-seven-year-old Airforce Veteran James Dowan grew up in Pennsylvania. He served his country as a medic from 1954 through 1957 and was stationed first in Greenland and then at Little Rock Air Force Base. “I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I got to Arkansas. It was so pretty and the people were so nice. My first Sunday here I went to church and got invited to Sunday dinner! “

Mr. Dowen graduated from Arkansas State Teacher’s College in 1960 and spent his next ten years teaching and coaching around Arkansas. “I think the best place was Waubaseka Junior Senior High School. I coached football and basketball there.”

After leaving teaching, he spent four years driving for Greyhound and also had his businesses selling insurance and advertising. He spent the next twenty-three years working in security. “I think I worked for four or five companies, but not because I left. The smaller companies would get bought up by larger companies and they would keep me on. “ A widower, Mr. Dowen has one son who lives in Whitehall, Arkansas.

Mr. Dowen left Arkansas for Milwaukee, WI when his boss moved and offered him a position. Later on, he was offered a position in Pennsylvania. He accepted and made the move, but when he got there, the employer never returned his calls and he was left unemployed. He moved in with his sister. During that time he was diagnosed with cancer and began treatment. “I was going in for X-rays for something else entirely and they found the cancer. The doctor said if they hadn’t found it, I could have died. I’m a lucky man to be here!”

Mr. Dowen returned to Arkansas and was living with his son, but when he found out about St. Francis House, he decided he wanted to come to Little Rock.” I made the call and they came and got me. I’ve always been self-sufficient so I want to live on my own. I made the loop back to Arkansas and the rest is history,” he says laughing. “I’m ready to settle in and enjoy life. I’m working with HUD/VASH and I’ve found a house to rent. It took a while to get my birth certificate, but now that I’ve got that I should be leaving in about two weeks. I was always in good shape before the cancer so now I want to work on getting my health back.”

“These people have been awesome, they have worked hard for me and out in lots of hours working for us Veterans. If a Veteran simply needs housing, or if they need a job or help with other problems, this is an excellent place to come. It’ ‘s obvious the staff loves what they do.”