Veteran Finds A Home Thanks To The VOC

- The Veterans Outreach Center in Rochester is celebrating 40 years of serving local veterans and their families. News 8 is raising awareness about all the good things that can happen when a veteran goes to the VOC. This is a story about what it means for a vet to have a place to call home. 

Joe Angelo gave his all to our country. The medic served four years in the Army and two in the National Guard. He was injured in Afghanistan. 

"It was pretty brutal; a 17-month deployment. I think PTSD had a lot [to do with it]. I was diagnosed with PTSD. A lot of the guys up there had PTSD," Angelo said.

Joe's life fell apart after the service. 

"I ended up getting addicted to opiates. That's when I knew I needed some help with it. I couldn't do it myself. It was like a revolving wheel. I just couldn't break away from it on my own," he said.

Joe was homeless, but found his way to Judy Gilbert at the Veterans Outreach Center. 

"Joe came in and hasn't stopped moving since," Gilbert said.

Judy oversees 50 beds ranging from emergency to permanent housing.

"I have a waiting list all the time," she said.

The VOC gives veterans a foundation- a new start. 

"We stabilize their immediate needs; give them food, clothing, shelter and finances," she said.

After getting help with his addiction at Richards House, Joe now lives in an apartment at Andrews Hall on the campus of the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. He now has a home. 

"It's incredibly important. Everybody needs a place to be. On top of that, everybody here is a vet as well. Just being in a community where there's people there to support you; and everybody is pretty much in the same boat. Everybody is doing the same thing," Angelo said.

Judy thinks the world of Joe.

"He's a good guy. He's just a really good guy. He's inspirational, he's helpful, he's doing it. He's doing it. So he's been there and it's our responsibility to be here for him and every veteran," she said.

He has become an inspiration to other veterans. Joe wants to complete his nursing degree, and the VOC will be there with him every step of the way.

We invite you to the Veterans Outreach Center's Stars & Stripes Celebration. It is on Veterans Day, November 11th. News 8 is a sponsor. You will enjoy an evening of honor and tribute in recognition of 40 years of service to the men and women of the armed forces.

For more information, click here.

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