Permanent Supportive Housing
Thomas has lived in many different places, his parent’s home, military barracks, his own family home, and in his car. A year ago Thomas moved out of his car and into a new apartment through Volunteers of America Oklahoma Permanent Supportive Housing.
Thomas said of living in his car for 10 months that he was “trying to get by on my own, but it’s a small car.” Thomas is one of the few to return after graduating from permanent supportive housing. The first time, Thomas thrived and after graduating was living on his own, until he found out his brother out of state was in need of assistance. Thomas moved to help his brother but as Thomas says, “There was no reciprocal help from him. I went though a final and irrefutable split with my older brother. I went to help him through a difficult time, but he didn’t want my help and it just ended up hurting me.”
As a young man Thomas went into the military and was in both the Army & Air Force. He was part of a Medical Rescue Services, parachute qualified, and paramedic qualified team. Tomas said, “We went where helicopters couldn’t reach people; we treated them and brought them out safely.” Thomas still has this attitude of service; he plans to begin volunteering with local veterans’ programs when he is able. His health has not yet allowed him to get out of his apartment.
After serving in the military Thomas went to college to become a chiropractor. Working as a chiropractic practitioner took a toll on him. “Becoming physically disabled and unable to practice chiropractic any more, I was denied at age 55 for major surgery on my back.” Thomas and his wife shared a practice. They are now divorced and Thomas is estranged from his children.
Thomas said that, “trauma, physical and emotional after so many years, disabled me physically and set me adrift emotionally. I am appreciative of Volunteers of America Oklahoma, you are here to pick up the pieces of broken people, people who would fall though the cracks. Thank you for seeing I am not washed up that I have a lot to give to others, I just need to get the wind back in my sails.”
Since moving in Thomas has completed a book manuscript and is still looking forward to helping others. He wants to serve local veterans, resume Toastmasters public speaking and play guitar again; “I want to pick it up out of storage, and help with Praise & Worship at John 3:16 Mission.”
To everyone who has donated time or money to Volunteers of America Oklahoma, Thomas wants you to know “I thank God you are there I am appreciative to you, otherwise I would still be living in my car. I thank God almighty for VOA and I will keep you in my prayers day in and day out."