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Veteran helps veterans at Independence Hall - KBZK.com | Continuous News | Bozeman, Montana

Veteran helps veterans at Independence Hall in Billings

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Volunteers of America run Independence Hall in the heights.

The hall has a program which helps homeless veterans become independent. Johnny Allery is one veteran who successfully made it through the program. He now works and helps other veterans at Independence Hall.

“Find that stability and that’s what I hear a lot around here from the guys, trying to get that stability back in their life,” Allery said.

Allery served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1972 to 1978 and also came through the program.

“When I first got in here, I didn’t know who I could trust or who I could share with or who do I talk to,” Allery said.  “Took a while, but got there.”

And he said once they find the trust, they help each other.

 “The majority of us here have experienced a lot of the same things so we relate pretty good with each other and rapport is good,” he said.

Allery spent two weeks at Independence Hall. Some spend up to 90 days making the transition.

“ Put the ego on the side,” Allery said. “Put the self pride on the side and say hey, I need some help. Once you can do that, makes a lot of things easier.”

“They come back out of a war zone into a nice tidy society and a lot of times, it’s hard to adjust,” said Bill Holder, director of Independence Hall.

 Holder watched Johnny and many others become independent and go out and live on their own.

“I meet with every veteran that comes in here and I tell them, use this program as it’s intended to be used, you will be successful,” Holder said.

“Once you face the fear, makes everything better,” Allery said. “Sure I had some rough times, but that’s part of life.  And I look back, if this wasn’t available at the time, I don’t think I would’ve succeeded in what I had to do.”

Independence Hall is funded by a grant through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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