My name is Raeford Smith, Sr. I was born and raised in North Carolina. My childhood was rough to say the least and growing up, all I wanted was to get as far away from home as possible, as fast as possible. I joined the Marine Corps right out of high school on July 21, 2003. I spent 10 years in the military, serving four years in the Marine Corps from 2003-2007 and six years in the Army from 2007-2013. During my military career, I deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. During my tours, I survived mortar attacks and indirect fire attacks, barely escaping with my life. Despite the danger, my time in the military was great for me. It gave me a sense of purpose, something I struggled to find before enlisting and after returning home.
Since the last tour ended, being in the civilian world has been a difficult transition. After coming back home, I viewed the world differently. My service changed me. I guess I didn’t realize just how much until my life started to spiral downward. I made some poor choices around work and family to say the least. I really didn’t want to address my PTSD or my other challenges with mental health. It didn’t take long for me to end up homeless.
Luckily, I was introduced to U.S.VETS, which has given me the space and stability to put my life back together again, providing me with housing and mental health counseling services. With a room over my head and a thoughtful case management team, I am now working on finding and maintaining gainful employment. I am excited to put my master’s degree in Cyber Security to work!
The case managers here have been incredible with helping me try and get my life back on track. I am forever grateful for their commitment to helping veterans like me find their purpose again. Please support U.S.VETS with a donation today. We need it.
Raeford Smith Sr.
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