Gary H. was born and raised in Rochester, NY where he has pleasant memories of his mom and dad raising him and his siblings. His parents’ divorce years later split the family when he, his mother, and siblings moved “down south” to South Carolina to live with his grandmother (his mother’s mother).
After graduating from South Carolina’s Gaffney High School, Gary went straight to the military where he spent the next 10-1/2 years in the Army.
After completing his military career, Gary moved to Detroit, MI, obtained professional certifications and licensing in plumbing and electronics, and joined Local 98 Plumbers Union where his hourly wage peaked at $49/hour.
His brother had returned to S. Carolina after retiring from the Navy and encouraged Gary to move back “down south” so he would be close enough to help with their mother. Gary moved to Georgia and recalls “that’s when trouble started”. His many job applications in Georgia were turned down and he was often labeled “overqualified” for jobs.
Gary thought things were getting better when a Georgia homeowner who resided in Florida agreed to let Gary live in his Georgia home and remodel it, for which Gary would be paid. However, the homeowner failed to follow through with needed materials and supplies, and the housing repair “job” developed into Gary living in the “abandoned” house.
Officially homeless, Gary visited the Atlanta VA hospital and filed disability claims that were denied. He then called United Way and was referred to Homes of Light Housing Program where he met “Mr. Gil”, the executive director. “Mr. Gil worked with me to get an apartment (permanent housing) and provided bus fare, a voucher to get clothes, and needed resources.
Mr. Gil made arrangements with The Furniture Bank, and my two-bedroom apartment was completely furnished.
The blessings kept on coming when the VA re-evaluated my claim and awarded me 70% disability. There was nothing but blessings once Mr. Gil came into my life.” Gary H. is happy that his family is now back together and he anticipates officially getting married. He declares, I am blessed and know that you get your blessings by helping people. I am blessed.”