Giving Veterans a Hand up in Shreveport
Perouz Farokhkish is proud of his service in the United States Army. Growing up Christian in Lake Charles, Louisiana to a Middle Eastern father and American mother, he saw no signs of prejudice or hatred. When he returned home after two tours supporting the war in Iraq, he couldn’t help but notice something was different.
“The best I can describe it is like a Vietnam veteran, it was very difficult,” said Farokhkish. “For me, I was a man just like anyone else.”
Following the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on 9/11, Farokhkish says his Middle Eastern decent made him stand out. He isolated himself, not leaving home very much. Looking back now he says he didn’t trust people especially the Veterans Administration Hospitals he needed to get help. For fifteen years, Farokhkish kept to himself, kept his thoughts and feelings locked inside.
“When you get out, there was nothing there to help you re-balance, so you get out and all you know is to run, and if you can’t run, if something trips you, you are a complete and total failure.”
Then a referral to The Salvation Army in Shreveport changed his life. Perouz says the compassion showed by the staff in the Veteran’s shelter and by the officers helped him open up.
“I always needed to talk but didn’t know who would allow me to let it out,” said Farokhkish. “Being able to talk to other veterans was greatly helpful. For me to be able to help the elderly veterans to navigate simple things like a cell phone, it was therapeutic to think even here I could give back.”
Perouz stayed in the veterans’ shelter for five months. He now is enrolled at Louisiana State University-Shreveport studying Psychology. He is grateful to those who helped him at The Salvation Army and volunteers to this day.
“Finding other veterans who experienced similar situations was really comforting,” said Farokhkish. “And gave me a lot of solace to know that you can come out of that. It doesn’t have to stay that way forever.”
The Salvation Army of Shreveport has worked hand in hand with the Overton Brooks VA Hospital by providing transitional and emergency housing for homeless Veterans both male and female.
The veterans shelter offers 29 beds, 24 for men and five for women.
In 2016, The Salvation Army provided nearly 8,000 nights of lodging for veterans and over 20,000 meals serving 250 veterans overall.
To get more information on how The Salvation Army is helping veterans in Shreveport, please click here.