“You Just have to Take the Steps”

Army Veteran Michael Hull grew up in Canton, Ohio. He joined the military right after graduation. “I was already signed up for college; I had already enrolled for my classes. But I talked to a recruiter and joined up instead.” He served his country in tactical operations from 1992-1994.

After leaving the Army, he married a woman from Ireland and had two daughters. They moved back to Ohio where he worked for Georgia Pacific and later did construction and landscaping. The couple later divorced, and she and the daughters went back to her home. Eventually, he met a woman from Arkansas who became his long-term partner. “I raised three stepchildren and a daughter.” The family moved to Arkansas in 2008 to be closer to her relatives.

But things took a horrible turn in 2008. His daughter died and the tragedy led to a downward spiral of drug use and prison “I paroled out to a sober living facility, but it wasn’t what I needed. It wasn’t nearly as nice as St. Francis House. I didn’t last long. I left and eventually ended up back in prison. This time I paroled to St. Francis House. It’s very different and I’m different as well. I’m fifty-one and I’m tired of that life; I’m done!”

Mr. Hull’s children are spread out over Arkansas, Missouri and Ohio, but he plans on staying here. “I’m already enrolled at Pulaski Tech for welding and I’m working with HUD/VASH on getting a place to live. And of course, I’m working every day on staying clean and sober. St. Francis House is a very good place, they take care of you, and I’ve had no problems with the staff or any of the other Vets.  Mr. Hull continued “I just want to wish Ms. Darlene a good retirement and to tell any Veteran who needs it that the people here will hold your hand and walk you through it. You just have to take the steps.”