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Help that Works for Troubled WV Vets

The logo for Telamon.
The logo for Telamon.
September 19, 2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A program in West Virginia's eastern panhandle succeeds in helping troubled veterans get their lives back on track.

"Bernard" says he was homeless, addicted to cocaine and alcohol, and in and out of legal trouble in northern Virginia for years. Once he got control of his drug problem, he knew he didn't want to stay in his old neighborhood.

The Veterans Administration recommended Victory House, transitional housing in Martinsburg run by Telamon Corp., a community action agency for Berkeley and Jefferson counties. Bernard says he was ready, and that his stay there helped him change his life.

"I weaned myself off of crack for a while, and by the time I came down here I think I had about a month clean time. In the two years time I spent at Victory House, I pretty much was a workaholic."

Bernard says he would recommend Victory House to any veteran who needs it. He sees it as the best thing he could have done to help get his life in order.

A lot of veterans might not realize all the help that's available, Bernard says, adding that with support from the VA, his family and Telamon, he was able to turn his life in a new direction.

"They was proud of me, so it made me feel good about myself. I feel that the road I took by going through the Telamon transition house was a blessing, and it seems to pay off with each passing day."

The house has room for 11 men at a time. They have to pay rent, says Robin Kees, Telamon's West Virginia state director. In return, he says, they get the training and help they need to stay off the streets.

"So they can become self-sufficient, and be ready to move into permanent housing, and be able to be stable in that housing - not just leave and then fall back into homelessness again."

Bernard has been able to keep a job since he left Victory House, and last fall he bought a house in Bunker Hill. Another Telamon program helped him build sweat equity and get financing for the home.

More information is online at

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV