Thanks to a partnership with the Veterans Administration (VA), BridgeBuilders is helping struggling veterans return to work. While most veterans are highly capable, disciplined people that have been improved by their service, there are some who struggle. Over the last year, the VA has recognized that our unique focus on the spiritual and philosophical barriers to flourishing are proving effective at helping struggling veterans thrive again. So, they have been referring some of their clients to our WORK Program. In fact, 11 percent of our students since 2016 are veterans!
Often, these are men and women who have fallen victim to some bad choices and their lives simply got off track. Men like Doug, who saw his life unravelling after ten years of multiple deployments in the U.S. Navy. In an effort to save his marriage, Doug decided to leave the Navy however, his marriage was beyond salvage and he soon found himself divorced and without an occupation. Absent that sense of purpose and now alone, despair soon followed, and he began to “self-medicate” with alcohol and drugs.
Like many veterans, Doug didn’t suffer from his service in the Navy as much as he sought relief from his suffering in life by finding purpose in the service of his country. You see, Doug came to us at the age of 51, a broken man, after a long history of personal tragedy. When he was two, Doug and his mother fled their home in the middle of the night to escape his abusive father. His mother soon remarried and, shortly thereafter, she was killed in a car accident leaving Doug with his new stepfather. Doug’s stepfather adopted him and was a good father but tragedy struck again when his stepfather died, leaving him orphaned at age sixteen.
Doug, like so many, was lost and in a very real sense, alone. While service to his country was satisfying; it could never fill the God-shaped void that each of us carry. At BridgeBuilders, Doug encountered Christians who didn’t just “talk the talk,” as he put it, but seemed to really care about him. We don’t know for certain where Doug is in relation to God, but we do know that he has both heard and experienced the gospel!
Today, Doug is working fulltime for a local manufacturing company, using his mechanical skills learned in the Navy. He said, he “appreciates all that BridgeBuilders did for him and I am forever grateful!” We are blessed to serve those that have so faithfully served this nation and its citizens.