"Leave No One Behind"

Buddy Simmons happily tells you what he thinks of VVSD

“It’s a magical place!”

Buddy credits VVSD with saving his life.

The 54 year old Army veteran has been clean and sober for more than ten years now, and he doubts that could have happened without the people at VVSD – the people who never gave up on him, when giving up would have been easy to do.

VVSD also saw to it that Buddy Simmons didn’t give up on himself, which would have been even easier to do.

Buddy is the poster child for a terrible childhood – he was drinking at 11, running wild on the streets at 12 – and admittedly has spent much of adult life in and out of jails and prisons. He joined the Army at 17 – but he continued his alcohol and drug abuse while in the Army.

He came out of the service, and right back to the streets – where he spent the 80’s and the 90’s, when he wasn’t behind bars. “I saw more combat on the streets that I ever would have in the peacetime Army,” says Buddy. “I never got shot in the Army – I got shot at a couple of times in the streets. It’s brutal out there.”

He finally got clean in 2002, through a short-term rehabilitation program at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Knowing that he needed more time and a deeper understanding of his addition and himself, he asked for a referral to VVSD, where he knew that extra help was available. 10-months in VVSD’s Veterans Rehabilitation Program (VRC) gave him the chance to really and truly examine himself, and figure out how to maintain the sobriety he had fought so hard to gain.

VVSD for Buddy was a place of serenity and safety.

He’d gotten through the program, he was out, and living and working independently. Things seemed good, at last. But in 2010, it all started to collapse around him. An injury ended up costing him his job, his apartment, his car…everything. He was on disability, and looking at going back on the streets.

Even through that, though, Buddy was still able to hang onto his sobriety. He’d worked too hard to throw it all away.

He was talking to Al Feliciano of the Veterans on Point program about another veteran in need, and told Al what had happened, that he was about to be homeless again. “Al said, no, no, no – that’s not gonna happen.”

Next thing he knew, he was asked to apply for a position at VOP. Before long he had a job as a Resident Manager for the VOP program – and he had his life back on track. He’s there today – still working, still clean and sober, still happy…still seeing VVSD as that “magical place.”

We believe intensive rehabilitation leads to self-sustaining independence,
the maximizing of human potential and a meaningful, fulfilling life.
Our veterans are worthy of nothing less.