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‘I never gave up,’ Veteran shares story of hope, healing and credits local resources for helping him get back on track

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 1:58 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Kamal H. Muhammad has a story and it starts in 1972 when he joined the U.S. Army.

“I was 17 and I was already emancipated as a child, my mother and father at 15 and I wanted to go to Vietnam,” he said.

During basic training, tragedy hit home. Muhammad’s 12-year old brother died. He said he couldn’t stop crying, so they sent him home and told him not to come back. But he did, 10 years later at the age of 26.

“I went back and decided I was going to be the best soldier anybody has ever seen. I became a paratrooper, the whole thing.”

Muhammad served his time but got injured along the way.

“When I got out, I didn’t have any insurance so I wasn’t able to prove to them how hurt I was,” he explained.

Muhammad fell on hard times but never gave up. He ended up in Alaska and found his way to Catholic Social Services.

“They said okay come on, let’s go over here, okay we going to go over here and everywhere we went, doors opened up,” Muhammad said.

Ben Prouty, also a veteran and now a healthcare navigator, said a lot of times veterans aren’t aware of the benefits they’re entitled to.

“When you get out of service a lot of times you don’t really get a long explanation of getting care at the VA or what level of care you have access to,” Prouty said.

Program Manager Yvonne Humphrey said addressing healthcare needs first, is a priority.

“Being able to be permanently stably housed is almost impossible if your mental health or your physical health is constantly in flux, our ability to stabilize people’s mental health physical health allows them to stay permanently housed,” she explained.

“I’ve never had this kind of attention, never had this kind of love directed toward me and so, I was happy and I decided that I’m going to stay here,” Muhammad added.

He now calls Alaska home and just like Muhammad never gave up hope, he encourages other veterans that are struggling to do the same.

Click here to learn more about Catholic Social Services Supportive Services for Veterans Families.

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