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Iraq War veteran finds healing at Bessemer ministry

BESSEMER — A 2017 Point-in-Time Count conducted by three government agencies revealed that more than 40,000 veterans are homeless in America on any given night.

These veterans risked their lives to protect the American dream but, upon returning home, found that dream unattainable for themselves and their families. Instead of prospering and living the dream, they were faced with the nightmare of pain, substance abuse, and homelessness.

James, a veteran who has found healing at The Foundry Ministries

James is one of the 70+ homeless veterans who come to The Foundry each year seeking care, guidance, and tools to overcome addictions, manage mental health issues, and gain marketable job and life skills to rebuild productive and fulfilling lives. James was in basic training with the Army National Guard on Sept. 11, 2001. Upon his return from the Iraq War, he fell victim to drug and alcohol abuse. To distance himself from his addictive environment, James enlisted in the Coast Guard and was stationed in New Orleans.

Life was going well until Hurricane Katrina devastated the area and James lost everything. James fell into a deep depression and his alcohol abuse spiraled out of control. During this time, he suffered a car accident that left him with three shattered vertebrae, four broken ribs and a ruptured spleen. He turned to methamphetamine to cope with the pain.

In and out of jail as a result of his addictive lifestyle, James was tired of his destructive path and was ready to change his life. He is currently a participant of The Foundry’s 12-month Recovery Program at The Foundry Farm where he is receiving the time and encouragement he needs to mend the broken pieces of his life and finding the emotional and spiritual healing he desires.

“The Foundry has done more than save my life,” James says. “They saved my soul. And I don’t even know how to thank them for that.”

More than 600 men and women are enrolled each year in The Foundry’s Recovery Program, which provides life-skills training, employment readiness and adult education, in addition to addiction recovery. The program is supported by private donations from individuals, churches, businesses and foundations, which also fund the ministry’s Reentry Program for men returning to the community from prison, and the Rescue Program for families and individuals struggling with life necessities. Donations can be made online at foundryministries.com.

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