When William G. Ford arrived at Shreveport VA Medical Center in October 2018, he had nowhere else to go. He was homeless. Everything he owned could be packed into two bags. Today, he’s healthy and hopeful for the future.

Ford, a native of Tupelo, Mississippi, was drafted into the Army infantry in 1971 and served until 1973. After his time in the service, he found success in the car business.

At VA, William Ford found help with substance use, became healthy again and got back on his feet.

“At one time I was worth a million dollars,” he recalls. But his good fortune changed. Alcohol became a problem, which led to chaos in his life.

“I lost everything and was in and out of treatment centers,” says Ford. “I had a hard time and relapsed.”

“They saved my life”

When Ford finally entered the Shreveport VA Substance Use Disorder Services program, the specialty care program helped Ford get back on track by throwing him a lifeline. “They saved my life,” he says.

VA specialists also cured him of hepatitis C.

Thanks to the VA MISSION Act, Ford was able to get cataract surgery in the community. “They took care of everything. They held my hand, and everything went smooth.”

The Compensated Work Therapy program at Shreveport VA has given Ford the chance to earn extra money and reenter the workforce. Now his goal is to remain healthy.

“I am very proud to have served my country. I am a proud Veteran who served honorably, and although my life has had some bumps in the road, I do not believe I would be as well as I am now if I wasn’t an Army Veteran,” says Ford. “Everyone has been so nice to me here. I’m very humbled.”


Mark Woodall is a public affairs officer with the Shreveport VA Medical Center.


Read more:

Army Veteran, now Charleston VA employee shows the path to recovery

VA STAR program model of success for substance abuse recovery

Understanding the link between PTSD and substance use disorders in Veterans

A man in a white watch cap stands in front of the Coatesville VA Medical CenterWith help from VA, formerly homeless Veteran is ready to live on his own
A man and woman smiling at each otherVA’s Warrior to Soulmate (W2SM) program

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4 Comments

  1. Tony hovgaard January 23, 2020 at 12:31 am

    The problem is with the housing is after a while they raise the rent every year until your price out of your voucher and you are priced out of your house and the VA doesn’t do anything to help us vet so you can go to project housing you get thrown in a lottery with all this section eight people so what’s good is the doctor if we can’t get a place NBA needs to fix that

  2. Joseph H. Dinan, Jr. January 19, 2020 at 8:52 am

    Robert is probably joking about having a child after age 82. If he likes kids, I’d recommend looking into a mentoring program with a middle school boy. I did that, where you meet at the school for tutoring and listening.

  3. Robert Palmer January 15, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    I was a homeless vet for 11 years, living in my auto as I traveled the country, which is large and beautiful. Eight years ago someone (probably VA) got me a new apartment in Maine, which I still enjoy, but there is no work here, and I have enough Social Security to get modest OA payments. Rent is financed by HUD, and geared to my low income, and thus I can afford it. I worked Federal for years, but took out my balance to start a business years ago, and hence I get no federal retirement or SS for that service. I drove my Chevy 1,130,000 miles in this mode with a small hobby business which was not too lucrative. VA has recently done needed surgery for serious problems which now give me an outlook for a better life. I am 82 now, and would still like to meet a nice girl and have a child before I succumb. Girls in New England are very cold, and I plan to relocate for this family planning.

  4. Neil E.Collins January 11, 2020 at 10:42 am

    I’m a disabled veteran thank god had good people around me. Brain and neck injury left me 40 years of hell. Honestly today don’t know how I did it. As I get older it gets so much harder. I pray 2020 is better than past years. Since 1988 3 Strokes and heart attack. In 2017 I had C4 to C7 hardware & fusing to avoid being quadriplegic.

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