Peter and his granddaughter

Article by Emily Bressler


Taking Control: Peter’s Story

Peter served our country as a medic in the U.S Army. After he retired, he worked 20+ years in the plastic manufacturing industry in Walton, Kentucky. Peter would often visit Savannah with his wife and kids for vacation during his long career.

However, working long hours and constantly standing on his feet took a toll on his body. His knees and back pain made everyday tasks difficult, all while struggling with addiction.

His addiction was tearing his family apart and his wife told him that he needed to get help or else he would not live long enough to see his children grow up.

“Every time I got a pay check  I  would say,’I’ll pay that bill next week. I’ll pay that  bill next week.’ Eventually, my family had enough.”

In September of 2007, he decided that he wanted to start his life over again in a place that he loved visiting, Savannah. With a one way ticket in hand, Peter embarked on a trip that would change his life.

Peter knew that he wanted to come to Savannah to get sober. When he arrived at the Greyhound bus station, he was lost in this unfamiliar part of town. With help from a stranger, Peter got in contact with Salvation Army. From there he was referred to Union Mission for housing and substance abuse treatment.

“One of the hardest things was that people never believed me when I told them I was homeless. They said that I had clothes on and was clean, and they didn’t think that I could possibly be homeless. I had to let them know that the only reason I looked so good was because I was staying at Union Mission.”

With his determination to make a better life for himself and with the support from Union Mission, Peter was able to end his addiction. After the completion of the substance abuse program, Peter moved from the shelter  to Union Missions’ transitional housing program.

“I never would have thought that I would be homeless. Things happen and some things were out of my control. My disability took over, and I couldn’t function the way I used to. And I had a problem on top of it. But I got rid of my problem.”

His family saw the changes in his life and was able to see that Peter was truly a new man. Almost one full year   from the date that Peter came to Savannah, his family drove down from Kentucky to pick him up and take him back home.

Exactly 10 years has passed since Peter utilized the services offered by Union Mission. He is doing extremely well in Walton, Kentucky. He is married to the love of his life, and they live together happy with their three  dogs.

Union Mission exists to help people like Peter  retake control of their lives and leave homelessness behind. Thank you for sharing hope and help in  our community.

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