U.S. Army Veteran August finds his home in Omaha
August can still see the surprised look on his mom’s face when recruiters showed up at the doorstep of her Louisiana home and told her that her son wanted to join the United States Army.
“I’ve got two children in there already; you’re not taking another one!” August remembers her saying.
August had gone to the Army recruiting office to enlist at the age of 16 without telling his parents. Since he was underage, he needed his parents’ consent. No matter how much the recruiters tried to convince his mom, she refused to let him go.
“We were a patriotic family,” August said. “When we turned 17, we knew it was our time to serve.”
August was able to enlist the following year. He completed training in Louisiana and California and was stationed in Hawaii and Guam.
After serving his country, he moved to Rochester, New York, where he had a successful career producing television shows. August also lived in Houston before a relationship brought him to Omaha in June 2017. A work injury from 2005 kept him from holding a job, so when the relationship ended, August found himself homeless.
“I came from a stable background,” August said. “I had never been homeless. I fell from the top and had to get back up.”
Although he was facing hardships, August wanted to help others. He volunteered at Omaha’s VA Medical Center, helping guide patients to the neurology clinic. August was also a co-facilitator and program participant at Omaha Bridges out of Poverty. This is where he first met David Klitz, Habitat for Humanity of Omaha program specialist in 2018.
“David would come and speak to all of the participants and offer them opportunities,” August said. “I had never heard of Habitat, so I jotted down notes and said, ‘okay, I’ll try that.’”
August applied for Habitat Omaha’s Homeownership Program and was accepted. He was excited to soon again have a place to call home.
The following year, August found himself outside his new house in the Kountze Park neighborhood, surrounded by Habitat Omaha staff, friends and neighbors congratulating him at his home dedication.
“The whole thing was an exciting adventure I’m still living,” August said.
While completing the Homeownership Program, August also enrolled at Metropolitan Community College and completed a photography course. Many of his photographs now decorate his living room walls.
He plans to continue studying photography and hopes to one day open his house to friends and neighbors for a tour and to see his work.
“It would be really special to have others come in, see the house and have a conversation,” he said.
In addition to our Homeownership Program, Habitat Omaha is honored to serve those who have served our nation through our Veteran Home Repair Program.