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 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.