The brave men and women who risk everything to keep us safe and protect our way of life deserve our eternal gratitude, but sadly, many of those heroes don’t get the support they deserve once they’re back on American soil.
For 2 decades of 1 Indianapolis man’s life, he was prepared to give up his life at any moment while serving in the armed forces. After completing his service, he tried to transition into civilian life but was left homeless and alone when tragedy struck…
Enlisting In The Air Force
In 1976, Michael Malone, who was not even 20 years old at the time, decided to enlist in the United States Air Force. Despite having his whole life ahead of him, he was willing to give it all up so that he could serve his country and protect those who call it home.
Over the next several years, Michael completely dedicated his life to the Air Force until he finally finished his service in 1980. Michael could have just transitioned back into civilian life, but he didn’t feel like he was finished serving his country…
Serving His Country
In 1981, Michael joined the Air Reserves and continued to serve his country by doing whatever or going wherever the Air Reserves asked him to no matter what the personal cost or sacrifice. That continued until 1996 when Michael was finally ready to retire from the armed forces.
A Challenging Transition
After completing 2 decades in the Air Force and the Air Reserves, Michael returned to his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. Once back, Michael faced the daunting challenge of transitioning back into civilian life, which has proven to be extremely difficult for many veterans…
A Support System
While Michael did find it challenging to completely start his life over after returning home from his service in the armed forces, he had the support of his mother and his family who helped him tremendously whenever he struggled with the transition.
A New Purpose
Not only did Michael have a support system, which is crucial for veterans trying to rebuild their lives, but he also had his young daughter, who inspired him not to give up and made him work harder so that he could give her the life that she deserved…
Back On Track
Over the years, Michael seemed to have his life on track thanks to the support of his family, who was always there for him no matter what happened. However, his life quickly derailed after he suffered 2 tragedies within a span of just a few months.
Costly Medical Bills
For Michael, nothing was more important than his daughter and his mother. So when both of their lives were suddenly in jeopardy, he was ready to do absolutely anything to save them, including draining his bank account to pay their medical bills…
Despite his efforts, his mother sadly passed away, which left a giant hole in his heart. Shortly after her passing, Michael was notified that his mother had left her home, which had been Michael’s childhood home, for him so that he would always have a place to live.
The Childhood Home
Michael was honored that his mother had left him her home, but it didn’t come close to filling the void in his heart that was left without his mother, who had always been his biggest supporter. Not long after that, Michael received more news that turned his life upside down…
A Father’s Worst Nightmare
Doctors told Michael that they did everything within their power to save his daughter, but it didn’t work. Michael had already been struggling to cope with the loss of his mother, but this new tragedy completely shattered what was left of his heart.
Emotionally and Financially Drained
In the wake of the 2 unimaginable tragedies, Michael’s finances were completely drained. Even though his mother had left him her home, the house needed a lot of work, which required money he didn’t have to restore it and make it livable again…
Giving Up On Life
Not only did Michael not have the money for the repairs that were required to live in the house, but he didn’t have the heart to pick himself up and take on such a draining challenge. After his mother and his daughter passed away, Michael simply gave up on life.
Living On The Streets
Before long, Michael was living on the streets of Indianapolis and occasionally found shelter at a facility for homeless veterans. However, when volunteers from the Home Depot Foundation and the Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation heard about what he’d gone through, they knew they had to do something to help…
“What he’s been through, he’s had some challenges,” said Matt Rice, the store manager for the Castleton Home Depot, who came up with a plan along with people from the Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation to renovate Michael’s home so he would never spend another night on the streets again.
The Home Depot Foundation
“We are helping him get back and are getting this house in shape where he can move back in and get going again,” Rice said about the project, which was being funded by the Home Depot Foundation as part of their initiative to help end veteran homelessness by 2020…
Too Good To Be True
The 2 organizations reached out to Michael and told them their plan, which sounded too good to be true at first. But when 70 volunteers showed up at his home to help rebuild his life, the 60-year-old couldn’t believe that so many people were willing to help him.
A Bittersweet Moment
“I’m kind of overwhelmed. I’m happy, I’m sad in a sense that my mother won’t be here to experience this. This was her home,” Michael said. “[But] this just blows me away that there are people that are really truly that kind. It absolutely restores my view of humanity…”
The Finishing Touch
Within a few days, the dozens of volunteers completely renovated his bathroom, repainted every room, put in new floors, and even installed an American Flag in front of the house. “If I turn the corner and see a flag flying, I know I’ll be home then,” said Michael. “My daughter was born on the 4th of July, so each time I see the flag, I think of her.”
A New Outlook On Life
Michael had completely given up on life, but thanks to the kindness of complete strangers who went out of their way to help pick him up, he had a new outlook on everything. “I’m excited for a new leaf in life, a new fresh start,” he said. “I’m touched by the generosity of people.”