Juan Gonzalez served proudly in the Marine Corps for over 10 years. The Marines taught him about honor, courage and commitment. They also taught him how to be strong in the face of adversity. But after losing his mother during his time of service, Juan felt lost and turned to drinking.
“I lost my mother when I was 23. She was my life. She was my best friend. That’s when my drinking really took off.”
After retiring from service at the age of 34, Juan worked for many years in various construction trades and was proud of his work. He also got help for his drinking. But as time wore on so did the wear and tear on his body, until one day he could no longer work in the field that he had come to love and had given him purpose.
Juan has always considered himself a strong and self-sufficient man. He had been a strong soldier and a strong father. Losing that sense of strength and dependability has always been one of Juan’s greatest fears. With bills mounting, he couldn’t afford to live on his own anymore and eventually moved in with a roommate.
“I was taught that if you do your duty and work hard, things will work out. But I feel like life has always thrown me curve balls. And things just never came easy for me.”
Things got worse for Juan. After moving to Woodbridge, VA, the unthinkable happened – Juan was diagnosed with throat cancer in January 2022. He couldn’t believe it and he didn’t know how he was going to manage the treatments and his housing. He didn’t want to die, but he also didn’t want to be a burden on others. In his mind, he was too proud to rely on others and was resolved to live out of his truck to help manage expenses.
That’s when his daughters intervened and connected him to Volunteers of America. Juan was reluctant at first, but soon found that he could depend on VOA. Since February of this year, supporters like you have made it possible for Juan to find a home and receive the financial assistance he needs to keep it while undergoing treatment.
“Volunteers of America has been great for me. I would recommend it for any veteran who needs help. [VOA is] the knight in shining armor. You know, it’s like that bright star in the sky. It brightened up part of my life. If it wasn’t for Volunteers of America, I don’t know where I would be.”