Don is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who is from Cleveland, Ohio. He went to Ohio Institute of Technology before joining the Marines in 1978. He was stationed at Camp Lejune in North Carolina. After leaving the Marines, he returned to Ohio. He became homeless in Ohio after loosing his job. He bounced between staying with friends and sleeping in his car. Becoming very depressed about his situation and how difficult it was to get help, Don attempted suicide. Soon after, he moved to Virginia to live with an old girlfriend. After a few months of living with her, and unsuccessful attempts to get a job, they broke off their relationship and he was homeless again. He phoned the Veteran’s Crisis Hotline and they advised him on finding shelter. He lived in the overflow shelter temporarily and also on the streets in Richmond before finding housing at Liberation Family Services. Don spends his time volunteering and riding his motor scooter.
Don talks about his first day being homeless and his interactions with the homeless shelter in Richmond.
Don talks about the reputation that the Marine Corps has for making people go crazy and his memory of arrival at boot camp
Don talks about keeping in touch with his friends from the Marines- they did for a while, but it didn’t last very long.
Don Nettles answers the question, “Did your military service change your world view?” He talks about going in a boy and coming out a man.
Don Nettles talks about leaving the military and how he felt like there was a lot of racial discrimination from white officers
Don talks about he ended up homeless while living in Ohio before coming to Richmond
Don talks about his journey through the homelessness system in Richmond before ending up at LFS
Don talks about the difficulties of not having a home. It is difficult to deal with all of the different types of people in a place like LFS with no escape.
Don talks about having friends at LFS who he can talk to
Don answers the question “what types of barriers do you feel homeless veterans face?” He talks about the let down people receive from the VA.
Don talks about what civilians should know about the experience of veterans. He talks about how not all veterans are the same and people should not be quick to judge based on false assumptions
Don talks about why he thinks veterans become homeless. He feels that many feel like they are entitled to services after serving their country and rely on the system too much.
Don talks about charity and how giving back and helping other people makes him happy. He talks about working in the boy scouts and repairing power scooters.
Don’s closing words about bettering yourself and survival