Local veteran hopes his success story will inspire others

A local veteran hopes his story of success will inspire other veterans who might be at a low point in life.

Posted: Jul 10, 2019 6:55 PM
Updated: Jul 10, 2019 6:55 PM

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state police working on interstate 5. "7, 8 years ago if someone told me that i would be working for the va as a peer support specialist and own my own home, i would not, no, that was not in the cards for me." but that's the reality ron butkus gets to live every day. it was a long road to get here.. and it took getting to his lowest point to make him realize he needed to turn his life around. he joined the military in 1985 as a mechanic. he served for 4 years, going from fort hood texas to germany. things started to go downhill when he was out of the military and living in las vegas. "the worst two years of my life from 2010 to 2012." he lost his job and turned to gambling, which led to drug and alcohol abuse and eventually homelessness. he was considering taking his own life "i just wanted to jump in front of the bus." he says a phone call from a friend changed everything. he reached out the v-a in vegas where he met another veteran who encouraged him to come to southern oregon. "i stayed plugged in to support groups, i helped out, volunteered, did whatever i could do to keep busy." he put in the work and climbed the ladder, eventually landing a job as a peer support specialist. now, he's 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." a dream job, he never thought he'd get. "i can't describe it, it's the best thing." when it comes to southern oregon's resources - he can't say enough good things. he was able to find housing through columbia care, and with the help of homes for hereos - he now has his own home. he wants other vets to know they can turn their life around too. "all it takes is just a little bit the kid
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