Watch CBS News

Detroit veteran recovery center needs funding to stay open

Detroit veteran recovery center needs funding to stay open
Detroit veteran recovery center needs funding to stay open 03:28

(CBS DETROIT) - Many of the men and women who help make our freedom possible are suffering. 

According to, 11% of our veterans are dealing with substance abuse disorders

In Detroit, one of the places working to bring that number down, is now in danger of closing its doors if the community doesn't step in to help. 

CBS News Detroit Executive Producer Impacting Communities Amyre Makupson takes us inside the Emmanuel House on Detroit's west side.

"For years, I was in my addiction, and I punished myself. And I come here and I realize that I don't have to do that no more," said Gary Lee, a United States Air Force veteran.

Lee is battling addiction.

"I came back to enjoy civilian life for two weeks, discovered crack cocaine, and never heard of it didn't know what it was. A friend said try it, and never made it back." 

"I came home in the 90s. So, veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq, they felt embraced when they came back. But the problem is, is that what happened over there? I, they have a difficulty getting over what happened," said fellow Air Force veteran Jason Marovich.

Lee and Marovich are among 33 veterans battling substance abuse after trauma during active duty at the Emmanuel House Veteran Recovery Program in Detroit. Both are now working toward sobriety.

"We address the mental physical and the spiritual," said pastor Timothy Thompson, director of the Emmanuel House Recovery Program for Veterans.

Pastor Thompson began the program in his home in 1997 after repeated family tragedy.

"Four brothers died in active addiction. I was on drugs for 24 years," said Thompson.

But he says faith and 12 steps turned tragedy into triumph. Emmanuel House has since housed thousands of veterans over the past two decades, coaching them through the 12-step program, while also offering classes teaching valuable life skills.

"We don't treat them as if they're an addict. My philosophy is if you want a man to act a man, you have to teach him how to be a man," said Thompson.

"It just teaches you how to be a better person. You know how to, you know, have some goals again and and value yourself," said Lee.

"This is our safe place for now. You know what I mean, where we can get better," added Marovich.

That could change without community support.

The program costs nearly $40,000 a month to run. 

Thompson says a recent cut in funding from the Veteran's Administration has made the cost of running the program almost unaffordable, which leaves veterans like Lee and Marovich vulnerable.

"We work through the PTSD, post traumatic stress syndrome, we went through their depression, we worked through their stress, and we did it medical and their mental," said Thompson. "They gave their for our city, our country. Now it's time for us to get back to them."

"That's what makes us successful. We're not isolated, you know, veterans, I think a lot of people want to take veterans and put them in a box somewhere and let them work out their issues. No," said Marovich. "This place saved my life."

"You can't do it alone. I tried to do it alone. I couldn't and many, many, many people have tried. You can't do it alone," added Lee. 

For more on the Emmanuel House Recovery program, visit here

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.