Veteran, David Cox, an Eastern High School graduate, served in the U.S. Army from 2008-15. He was a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Army’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Fort Campbell, KY), during
his last deployment to Afghanistan. A history buff, Cox grew up in a working-class family in Louisville’s West End. He attended Jefferson Community College and Methodist University near Fort Bragg. At one time, Cox considered pursuing a career in broadcasting, but his life took a different turn when he made the decision to return to civilian life in the United States.
Detaching from the military was more difficult than he’d anticipated, he recalls. Back in Louisville, marital problems led to a divorce, and his attempts to reenter society while working and living with friends failed. As is the case with many veterans, he found himself with no place to live.
In August of last year Cox was sent to St. Vincent de Paul’s Ozanam Inn Men’s Shelter. Since then, Cox has received counseling and personalized case management, while living in a small private room – one of 20 rooms offered for homeless veterans through a partnership with the Veterans Administration.
Today, Cox is on his way to a better future. He works as a security guard and attends college full-time. He is on good terms with his children, ages 14 and 15, and he is grateful to the Veterans Administration and to St. Vincent de Paul for the help he has received getting back on his feet after temporary personal and financial setbacks.
5 Questions with Veteran David Cox
Q: The Veterans Administration directed you to St. Vincent de Paul, is that correct? Had you ever heard of St. Vincent de Paul before?
A: Yes. I initially called the VA crisis hotline, who gathered my information and forwarded that info to the VA housing assistance personnel. I had heard of St. Vincent de Paul, but only peripherally, as a place that assists people with drug and alcohol rehabilitation and that also assists women and families. (Cox said he has never had a problem with drugs or alcohol.)
Q: What has your experience in our program been like?
A: My experience has been humbling and enlightening from a personal standpoint. It is never easy to ask for help, but the assistance and support provided by the program has been extremely crucial in helping me help myself get back to a stable footing. The coordination between the staff with other programs that help vets is truly
remarkable. I can’t thank the staff and [SVDP] donors enough for what they have enabled me to do, and that is get back to being self-sufficient.
Q: Where would you like to be in 10 years, professionally or personally?
A: Professionally, I see myself assisting other vets that may have a hard time transitioning, as a social worker. I am currently attending school and am two classes short of my associate’s degree. I will be attending Spalding University
to complete my degree in social work.
Q: What is the thing that has most surprised you about St. Vincent de Paul
A: What surprised me the most was that there was such an extensive and well-staffed support apparatus for veterans to utilize during a time of duress. The staff has really been a blessing to me. They have supported me and helped me set a plan and make it materialize.
Q: What would you like for people who support St. Vincent de Paul to know?
A: That what they do can truly make a difference in a significant way. They have helped a veteran like me get on his feet and continue to be a productive member of our great society. I can’t thank them enough for what this charity has helped me accomplish.