Today veterans and civic officials are honoring those who have served in the military -- and those who face challenges when they get back. ideastream's Nick Castele sat down at Cleveland City Hall with Alan Henry, who served in the army from 1981 to 1985. Alan was honored Monday as the 2013 student veteran of the year by the Joint Veterans Commission of Cuyahoga County. He has been living at the Veterans' Domiciliary while he completes a college degree. Alan is set to graduate in December. He shares this story in his own words, which have been edited down for time.
My name is Alan Henry…and I am the 2013 student veteran honoree for Cuyahoga County…My age is 50.
Been a homeless veteran since 2002, according to VA. But I never really felt like a homeless veteran the entire time.
I went in the military just to get out of the house at 18, and then to get education benefits when I got out.
I was in signal corps...Most famous unit was the 101st Airborne Division, 501st Signal...Just missed going to Grenada. So I almost was a wartime veteran.
I was a telecommunications specialist operator...I affectionately call myself a combat typist.
I entered the Wade Park Domiciliary back in Dec. 2011...I started at Tri-C in August of last year...I’ve already completed the post-degree certificate in massage therapy.
I always thought the best way to treat persons that would have PTSD is with massage therapy...Currently the VA treats it with talk therapy and drug therapy, but I truly believe that’s not enough.
For some reason, (people) think you have to have something wrong with you to be homeless...There ain’t nothing wrong with me.