- - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

“He was not the man I married,” said Pam Busenius of her husband, Joe, when he returned from deployment in 2005 and left the Army after 17 years. That feeling hit hard when Joe turned to self-medication for injuries no one could see.

With no regular work and Pam not earning enough money to pay rent and buy food, they became homeless. Facing a desolate future, Pam anguished over giving her sister custody of their two children so they could be safe and secure.

Instead, she forced Joe into a decision — get help or she would have to take the kids and leave him.

A PTSD diagnosis with help and benefits from the VA, and help from the local Catholic Community Services kept the family together and led to a home of their own and some financial security.

Pam continues to help Joe cope with the effects of PTSD — it’s hard for him to leave the house and she doesn’t see his condition improving. But she does see her role as an Elizabeth Dole Fellow as the chance to give a voice to homeless veteran families and the added caregiver difficulties homelessness brings. A voice she knows very well.

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