Jack DeBurger started telling his story by saying, “I’m starting over again.”
It turns out, that is exactly what Jack is doing. Once a 15-year-old who lived on the streets to escape abuse at home, Jack pushed through depression, anger, and dependence on alcohol to became a successful truck driver and business owner. He got married and started a family. But in 2008, the depression and dependence on alcohol overwhelmed him – and he lost his work, his home, and separated from his family.
Since 2008, Jack has experienced periods of extreme depression (he attempted suicide three times), as well as periods that seemed more hopeful. In 2012, he returned to work, and began volunteering. “I started climbing out of that low place in my life,” he said. But in 2013, Jack was hit by a drunk driver, and suffered extensive injuries. He was unable to return to work, and returned to living on the streets. The setback was followed by increased symptoms of depression and dependence on alcohol.
Today, Jack is starting over again. Through the help of Adult and Child’s Supported Employment program, JobLinks, he is looking forward to starting work at a local grocer. He explains that the support he has received from Azonda, the Employment Specialist who works with him, is making his journey easier. She helps him with his resume, researching job opportunities, submitting applications, and communication. She is also a source of support when he gets frustrated.
“I consider Azonda a friend,” said Jack. “Because of the support I have received, I now have the confidence to work toward my goals.”
What are his long-term goals?
“I want to get back to where I was – to have a stable job, and security, so I can provide for myself,” he says. “I’d love to have my family back.”