Ricky Fears

PLEASE NOTE: After helping hundreds of veterans get their lives back on track, our Veterans New Life Haven facility closed in January 2014. VSO is no longer offering housing services.

Following his service in the U.S. Army, Rickey Fears fell into hard times.

He struggled to hold down jobs. He studied to become a medical assistant, but didn’t get far. After his marriage fell apart, he turned to drugs. His mental health worsened.

They took really great care of me, and they took their time with me. I really appreciate that.

Before long, the retired Army Infantryman was alone, homeless and suicidal.

One day, he was confined in a hospital when he learned about Veterans Support Organization’s Veterans New Life Haven, a sober transitional sober living facility in Fort Lauderdale. The agency’s social workers helped veterans find work, food, and clothing and stay clear of drugs and bad habits.

It would be an ideal home, a counselor told him.

Fears moved in a short time later.

He never looked back.

“They gave me a chance to get my life back together,” he says.

For over a year, he shared an apartment with other former service members. He learned to take care of himself again. He got back to taking medication for his mental illness and focusing on staying clean.

“They took really great care of me, and they took their time with me. I really appreciate that,” he says.

Fears is now a devout Christian committed to drug-free living. He has a part-time job and his own apartment. He is optimistic about life.

He still keeps close ties to VSO staff, who consider him a role model for other veterans struggling with the same demons that nearly destroyed Fears.