WHITE CITY, Ore. -- A local veteran hopes his story of success will inspire other veterans who might be at a low point in life.
Ron Butkus joined the military in 1985 as a mechanic and served for four years, going from Fort Hood, Texas to Kaserne, Germany.
He said things started to go downhill when he was out of the military and living in Las Vegas.
"It was the worst two years of my life from 2010 to 2012," Butkus said.
He lost his job and turned to gambling, which led to drug and alcohol abuse and eventually homelessness. He was even considering take his own life.
"I just wanted to jump in front of the bus," Butkus said.
He said a phone call with a friend changed everything. He reached out the VA in Las Vegas where he met another veteran who encouraged him to come to Southern Oregon.
That's where his started to get back on track.
"I stayed plugged in to support groups, I helped out, volunteered, did whatever I could do to keep busy," Butkus said.
He put in the work, climbed the ladder and eventually landed a job as a Peer Support Specialist. Now he is the one doing the encouraging and inspiring.
"I'm often caught in the hallway with veterans and talking and discussing some of my stories with them," Butkus said.
It's a dream job he never imagined he'd have one day.
When it comes to Southern Oregon's resources, he can't say enough good things about the VA, Columbia Care, and Homes for Heroes. He now has a home of his own.
He wants other veterans to know they can turn their life around too.
"All it takes is just a little bit of courage, go that 51 percent, just walk in that door," Butkus said.