By Molly Waldron
CREATED MAY. 28, 2012
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) — Many of the Valley’s veterans don’t know where their next meal might come from, but that wasn’t the case on Memorial Day.
More than 200 homeless vets attended a Memorial Day BBQ in their honor. Some are struggling to get back on their feet, but Justin Dowdy is a testament to those who will.
“A lot of people think it’s going to be like it was when you left, and it’s not, and that’s the hardest part,” Dowdy said. “People move on with their lives with or without you.”
It was the mid-90s when Dowdy returned home from serving in Kuwait, and like many veterans, he fell into a pattern of addiction.
“It was more than alcohol and drugs, it was emotional,” Justin’s wife Kathy said. “He was a real war hero, and he went through a lot.”
Justin continued to be plagued by experiences from the war and succumb to his demons after having a son with his wife.
“It got to the point where I didn’t think anything would save him or help him,” Kathy said. “He was just done.”
Kathy took their son and left, and with nowhere else to go, Justin turned to the staff at U.S. Vets. The local organization was able to get Justin the help he needed getting sober, and find him a job.
“They just restored the man in him,” Kathy said.