Roy Benjamin is a Vietnam veteran. He saw combat for nine months but served in the Marines for five years. Now the Brookhaven native finds himself walking the streets of Jackson, looking for a warm place to stay.
"I wanted to be the best of everything and by me not being the best of things, I started doubting myself. then that led to my downfall," explained Benjamin.
Benjamin believes his post traumatic stress disorder spiraled out of control, leading to two failed marriages, alcohol and substance abuse, along with jail time.
A once successful career is just a memory.
"These streets don't care about you or nobody else," said Benjamin.
The former Marine says he can't remember the last holiday spent with family.
Benjamin described the streets as cold and lonely, saying he couldn't relate to people.
He along with the other homeless veterans in Jackson are receiving hope at the Opportunity Center Day Shelter.
Director Heather Ivery says ten percent of the 100 or so people that walk through its doors every day are homeless veterans.
"In these winter months, like today, it's cold and it's gonna stay cold for several months; we are going to see more veterans. a lot of our older veterans are the ones that will camp out or find an abandoned house to live in, and would prefer not to come into the shelters as much," said Ivery.
Many advocacy groups worry veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan will soon start filling homeless shelters. It's already happened in Jackson but not in large numbers.
Ivery explained how the shelter catches younger veterans, "You try to catch them as soon as they come in the doors and work with them because we've learned that the longer you're homeless the harder it is to get out of that situation."
The Opportunity Center Day Shelter works closely with the G.V. Sonny Montgomery VA Hospital in Jackson.
"We have connections with their social workers, actually they send a case worker down here once a week to meet with people to make sure there is nobody we are missing. And then we can get them there with bus passes, to the hospital. The VA Homeless Program then takes it from there," explained Ivery.
However, Benjamin has some advice for younger vets.
"I know it's hard to talk to people and try to make them understand what you're saying, but find somebody, somewhere to listen to you and try to understand you. Even if they don't say nothing, it means a whole lot for you to be able to get a lot of that off of you."
Saturday, May 25 2013 4:20 PM EDT2013-05-25 20:20:27 GMT
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Friday, May 24 2013 9:46 PM EDT2013-05-25 01:46:35 GMT
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The names for the 2013 North Atlantic hurricane season.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 8:30 PM EDT2013-05-25 00:30:42 GMT
Yesterday we first told you about two parents of Boyd Elementary school students, who say their children were sexually assaulted by another student. The parents were furious that no action had been takenMore >>
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Friday, May 24 2013 12:22 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:22:29 GMT
James Hutto interrupted his own capital murder trial Tuesday morning, angry that judge Bill Gowan decided against the admissibility of certain evidence. "None of that matters? F***. I don't give a f***More >>
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Friday, May 24 2013 9:19 PM EDT2013-05-25 01:19:22 GMT
A Vicksburg man was killed in a one vehicle accident on I-20 in Warren County Friday afternoon.Forty-nine-year-old Johnny Johnson was traveling westbound when he lost control of his 2004 Chevrolet at mileMore >>
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Friday, May 24 2013 10:33 AM EDT2013-05-24 14:33:13 GMT
A battle of words from the attorneys representing Jackson Police Officer Terrance Crump and Shane Patrick. Crump's attorney Warren Martin says Patrick yelled racial slurs when walking out of the store.More >>
A battle of words from the attorneys representing Jackson Police Officer Terrance Crump and Shane Patrick has sparked after both parties claim they were the victim in a fight at an Edwards gas station. More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 6:04 PM EDT2013-05-24 22:04:01 GMT
Friday morning, Paul Williams told viewers it would be beautiful, summerlike Mississippi day. That was his last forecast for WLBT. Paul is leaving to become the Chief Meteorologist at the ABC affiliateMore >>
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Friday, May 24 2013 7:17 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:17:09 GMT
A wreck involving a Hinds County Deputy happened on Highway 80 in Brandon, Friday afternoon. The female deputy's cruiser collided with another car. The front bumper of the cruiser was barely hangingMore >>
A wreck involving a Hinds County Deputy happened on Highway 80 in Brandon, Friday afternoon. The female deputy's cruiser collided with another car.More >>
Saturday, May 25 2013 2:58 PM EDT2013-05-25 18:58:48 GMT
Jefferson County Community Work Center inmate MELVIN TONEY, MDOC #K1985, left from the facility, in Fayette at approximately 6:00 a.m. today. TONEY was last seen wearing MDOC state-issued green and whiteMore >>
Authorities are searching for a MS Department of Corrections inmate who escaped this morning.