Program helps unemployed veterans find jobs

November 20, 2008 6:40:31 PM PST
There is new hope for a number of homeless and unemployed veterans. They're getting a brand new start in life, thanks to a program run by veterans. Swords to Plowshares is a program that has been around for 34 years.

"I'm going to die either drunk, addicted, in the street right? And today it's a whole different ball game," said Larry Bisakowitz.

Fifty-eight-year-old Larry says the veterans help group Swords to Plowshares changed his life.

He is a Navy Vietnam vet who turned to drugs and alcohol. Bisakowitz was homeless before he joined a housing and rehabilitation program run by Swords. Its goal is to get homeless vets a new lease on life.

"Get counseling, training, help with finding a job. A lot of them are enrolling in classes and going back to school," said Colleen Corliss, with Swords to Plowshares.

Hilo Halo also joined the program about two years ago and today, he attends San Francisco City College. Still, Halo says recovery has been tough.

"I was out of a job, didn't have a place to stay and place to live. Lost it all," said Halo.

Halo was a Marine during the Grenada Conflict in 1983. When he got out, he worked in construction. His last job was as a dishwasher, but he couldn't stay off the bottle.

"My bottom was when my boss told me that's it, you can't come back to work," said Halo.

Thursday night, Halo, Bisakowitz and 11 other veterans will graduate from the rehab program. Most already have jobs and others, like Halo, have enrolled in college.

Bisakowitz sums up what the program has done for him.

"It has helped me with my self esteem. It showed me I don't have to do this thing alone, support is the key," said Bisakowitz.


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