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Category: Program

Support from the VA and rescue mission is vital to maintain his recovery
PANAMA CITY — A recently homeless Vietnam veteran is transitioning to the next stage of rebuilding his life: moving into his own home. With support from the local Veterans Affairs office and the rescue mission, complete rehabilitation is possible, officials said.

James Jackson, 60, a graduate of the Panama City Rescue Mission’s addiction recovery program, will have his first Veterans Affairs case management visit in his new home, located at 2324 E. 16th Court, at 2 p.m. on Friday. The visit is special because it’s a milestone in Jackson’s personal development and affirms that he is closer to living an independent life. He moved into his new residence last week.

“All along, when I’ve first met him, we set some goals,” said Shayma Salmon, licensed clinical social worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs, who is Jackson’s case manager. “This is just one step closer to recovery and it will be a pleasure to see him in his new home.”

After completing the addiction recovery program, Jackson became eligible to receive rental financial assistance through Housing and Urban Development – Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUDVASH.)

“I am thankful to graduate from the program and get an apartment through the VA,” Jackson said. “I’m restarting my life over again.”

He came to the rescue mission after a life-long battle of alcohol abuse. Although he served in the military and became an architectural design draftsman, he couldn’t plan his life while bogged down beneath his addiction.

Matthew Mitchell, director of operations at the rescue mission, has watched and worked with Jackson as he fought to achieve graduation and blossomed as a well-rounded, dependable individual.

“To see his commitment to change, despite the ups-and-downs, shows how determined he is to stay on track,” Mitchell said. “It’s a testimony to the power of God; that no matter who you are, where you come from, where you go, second chances are always possible.”

Salman said Jackson has more goals to set and achieve

“He still has a long way to go,” she said. “Every time he meets a milestone, we’ll introduce more goals. The goal is for him to be self-sufficient and able to maintain a good quality of life on his own without case management and without housing subsidies.”

Veterans who need housing assistance may contact the Veterans Affairs crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Anyone who needs addiction rehabilitation services may contact Rick Briggs, program director at the rescue mission, at 850-769-0783.