Originally from Texas, Gary joined the U.S. Navy when he was 20 years old. After he served in the navy he moved to Sacramento where his family had moved. He got involved in drugs and his addiction took over his life. He ended up spending time in prison and upon his release, he received help from the Sacramento Veterans Administration and got into the laborers union.
While he was working and living in Sacramento, his past drug connections started encroaching on his sobriety and he felt he needed to break clean and start fresh in a new city. As a member of the Laborers’ International Union of America, he was able to move and he found a job in Seattle working the graveyard shift on the highways.
Gary found himself homeless in Seattle he was referred into Pioneer’s Mark Cooper House for homeless veterans. He enrolled in the Roadmap to Success job training workshops where he worked on his resume and cover letter. Gary is a hard worker and very driven but his goal was to get a civil service job that is not as hard on him physically. He likes to keep busy and is trying to stay on the right track.
Gary said, “I got a lot of support from the Pioneer staff. The case manager set me up with some financial services planner to help me build up my credit score and work with me on setting up my finances. And the instructors at the Roadmap to Success job training workshops also helped me to write a good resume and cover letter and they really encourage me to apply for different work when I’m ready. They have my back and want me to succeed.”
“My recovery is a lifetime project. It is so important for me to be able to live in a clean and sober facility that is safe and lets me get some sleep. My work is also very physical and the Mark Cooper House gives me an environment where I can get support when I need it, and it provides me with some rest and down time to re-charge each day,” Gary added.
Several months ago, Gary had a great reunion with his family who traveled up from Sacramento to visit him. He hadn’t seen them in a few years so it was a happy union in Seattle. “I was pretty excited that my mom, granddaughter and two grown children came up to visit me in Seattle now that I am stable and working. Pioneer gave us free tickets to visit the zoo and that was a great way to spend time with my family. I feel like I have many things to work for and reasons to stay clean now.”
Gary's journey with Pioneer is coming to a happy ending.
Currently, the Mark Cooper House is transitioning into another housing program and the residents are being relocated slowly. Gary immediately started searching on his own for a new place to live but he was unsuccessful. The Roadmap to Success workshop instructor/employment specialist, Phyllis Porter, became aware of Gary’s dilemma and set out to assist him. “I informed Gary of new units in a housing development that were available that I thought he would like and qualify for with his wages,” said Phyllis Porter. Gary was very excited to learn about the housing opportunity and wanted to see the unit that day! Phyllis escorted him to the housing unit manager who requested that he return on Saturday morning to view the apartment and fill out an application.
Gary returned on Saturday morning in a suit with the requested employment verification and other paper work in hand. Phyllis went with him and kept track of the units he liked best in the housing development. Gary reported back to the leasing agent that he was thrilled that the most difficult part was making a decision on the unit he liked the best. With the aid of Phyllis, he narrowed his decision down by price, location and preference. Phyllis was there to assist Gary fill out the application and submit it with his deposit.
A few days later, Gary learned that he was approved for his new apartment. Phyllis Porter stated, “I received the news from Gary via email over the weekend that read, “I GOT APPROVED - I’M IN ...”
Gary has done a remarkable job taking advantage of the opportunities provided by Pioneer Human Services. Using his learned job search techniques and interview skills, he was hired in a civil service position – a position he always wanted and pursued. He also has several new certifications and has now reached another personal goal - living in his own place. Gary is moving into a brand new luxury unit at the end of July and is very happy.
“From the moment I met Gary, I knew he was a ‘go-getter’ and a ‘mover and a shaker.’ I could see parts of myself within Gary as he strived to make things happen to improve himself. It has been a joy working with Gary and it gives me great pleasure to see that his hard work, dedication and a desire to do better has led him to be successful in life. I wish Gary all the best in the future,” Phyllis Porter stated.