Veterans are heroes, plain and simple, but even heroes fall at some point. It is what you decide to do from this point on that matters. For U.S. Air Force Veteran Dumont Moore, the VA was his second chance. In 1977, Moore was honorably discharged, hoping to use his military electrician training in civilian life but temptations got the best of him when he came home.
Violence and crime were his best friends at the time, eventually leaving him with an accumulated 19 felonies and 46 misdemeanors. Moore was selling "hot" items professionally, from clothes and laptops to boats and cars. You name it, he had it. It wasn't until 2008, when he purchased a stolen car in a sting operation, that all of his dealings came to an end. Moore was looking at 48 years in prison.
Almost being forced to accept the rest of his life in prison, Moore's fears led him to help. He met VA Veterans Justice Program coordinator Joel Rosenthal and Outreach Specialist Herman Sally, who introduced him to benefits he didn't even know existed.
"This was my first time working with VA because I thought it was part of my GI and that it ran out," said Moore. "I made the commitment, if I didn't go to prison for life, I would go to the VA for help."
With VA advocating for him, Moore ended up with only two years in state prison, thankfully catching a break because his convictions were non-violent crimes. He was released in March 2010 and went straight to VA Menlo Park. "The treatment team gets in your face and picks you apart but puts you on the right path," said Moore. "It was like pulling teeth with me but I don't have to worry about anything or losing freedom."
Now with the help of Dr. Hedva Porat, D.Crim, Employment Development and Community Relations Coordinator, Moore is working for the Compensate Work Therapy (CWT) program, using his electrician skills with the VA Engineering service.
When asked if he had any advice for Veterans, Moore simply said: "Don't wait until things get bad. Come into the VA and ask for help."
HVRP and CWT are part of many homeless and outreach programs at VA Palo Alto Health Care System. The Palo Alto Domiciliary, twice recognized as a National Center of Clinical Excellence, treats homeless and/or substance-dependent Veterans with the goal of returning them to independent living. The residential treatment programs are located at the VA Menlo Park Division. Find out about these programs and more on our Domiciliary website.