Clifford Johnson shares his experience overcoming years of homelessness and addictions to serve at-risk and homeless Veterans through weekly resiliency classes in South Florida. Together with the team at Operation Sacred Trust, he’s helped end homelessness for hundreds of Veteran families.
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Operation Sacred Trust, “OST,” funded through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, helps provide housing stability for homeless and at-risk Veteran families in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. OST is a collaborative effort of Carrfour Supportive Housing, PAIRS Foundation, Henderson Behavioral Health, and Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida. The program served more than 1,000 Veterans and their family members in South Florida since starting-up in September 2011, including ending homelessness for hundreds. FatherhoodChannel.com is pleased to profile some of the OST professionals on the frontline of ending homelessness for America’s Veterans.
Operation Sacred Trust
What inspires you to serve Veterans?
The fact that Veterans are selfless people who put their own lives on the line for our country.
What is a story/experience serving a Veteran family that stands out for you?
What stands out for me the most is a woman who came to Resiliency class several months ago who seemed to be at the edge of life. The tears that flowed out of her during the PAIRS Emptying the Emotional Jug exercise felt like they’d been there for years, maybe longer. Before the exercise, she told me that she felt that her pain was too much to express and that she had no one to confide in. Afterwards, it was as if a thousand pounds had been lifted from her body and spirit. She had such a sense of relief, gratitude, and her despair became hope. I’ll never forget the appreciation in her hug, eyes or the smile that I suspect was her first in quite a long time. I was so grateful to have been able to serve her as a Veteran who had given so much of her life to serve our country.
What’s your hope for the impact your work at Operation Sacred Trust has on the lives of the Veterans you serve?
My hope is that no matter what a Veteran may be feeling and going through, they know there is someone who cares and that help is just a phone call away.
Beyond your work serving Veterans, what personal connections do you have with the military/VA community?
My father was a Korean War Veteran and my own experience with homelessness through drug abuse and overcoming addictions helps me have enormous empathy for the men and women we serve. My life experiences and all that I’ve overcome give me a personal connection with the emotional stress and feelings of despair many of our Veterans are going through when they reach Operation Sacred Trust. I love being of help.
What’s one of the lessons you’ve learned from your work helping end homelessness for Veterans?
I learned that we, the American people, owe each of them our very best when they come home. Those who returned home many years ago from past wars need us too.
|Job Title:||Resiliency Instructor|
|Company Name:||PAIRS Foundation
Operation Sacred Trust
|Work Phone:||855-778-3411 x831|
|Email Address:||Click to Email|
|Address:||200 S. Park Road, Suite 455|
|Hollywood, Florida 33021|