“St. Francis House Has Been Terrific for Us”

Lonnie Hudson served his country in the Army from 1988-1990 as a wheeled vehicle repairman. A Pine Bluff, Arkansas native, he worked construction after leaving the military and moved back and forth between Houston and Pine Bluff until returning to his hometown permanently in 2000.

His wife Viola is also from Pine Bluff. She has been a career cook and has worked in restaurants all over Pine Bluff. They met in 1994. “She was my next-door neighbor and we’ve been together ever since.” said Mr. Hudson smiling. The two married in 2017.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck this past March when a fire broke out in their home. “We woke up and bed was on fire. By the time we got a blanket soaked in water to try and put it out, the fire had spread to the walls. “, stated Mr. Hudson “The whole house was engulfed except for one room where our dogs were. We lost everything, including our three dogs.” said Mrs. Hudson with tears in her eyes. “The fire department said they died from smoke inhalation. My granddaughter and a neighbor had to hold me back I wanted to try and reach my dogs.” “I still can’t get the dogs out of my head, “added Mr. Hudson.

The Red Cross put the Hudsons in a hotel, but that time ran out quickly. “The VA came to our hotel and told us they could get us into St. Francis House.”

“I didn’t want to come here at first, said Mr. Hudson. “I thought it would all be people with drug problems or something like that. But St. Francis House has been terrific for us. The staff has been so motivational; anytime I’ve been mad or upset…I was all torn up when I got here…. the program has helped in my healing. I don’t know what we would have done. St. Francis House is a blessing for us and for all Veterans and their families.”