BOSTON (CBS) — Gerald Maker was just 20 years old when he was drafted into the U.S. Army and deployed to Vietnam.
When he came back, he was a different man.
“It started with the nightmares, the night sweats, and the night terrors,” Maker said.
He went to the Veterans Administration to seek help. But there was little awareness of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.) at that time. Maker said he was turned away.
“You spend all this time bouncing around, feeling like you’re less than. A lot of that has to do with a place to live,” according to Maker.
Nine years ago, Caritas Communities opened a housing community for veterans in Bedford, giving Maker an affordable place to call home and providing services to help with his P.T.S.D.
Friday, a ceremony marked the opening of new homes in South Boston to help more veterans like Maker.
“I don’t think there’s a better way to celebrate Veterans Day by opening this new home here for veterans and their families,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said at the ceremony.
The building is an old police station that sat vacant for years. The inside is remodeled and an addition was built next door, providing 24 units for veterans and their families.
There will be on-site staff providing critical support and case-management services.
Maker is thrilled to know more veterans will be getting the services that helped him get his life back.
“A stable place to live with a lock on the door… it’s so hard for me to put a value on that,” Maker said.