ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA) - You may know the Salvation Army in Alexandria as a place where designer deals run deep. But, did you know that when you shop and save money there, you just may be helping to save a life?
Manager Lonnie Hamilton knows this firsthand. "I was homeless, I was living in the streets, and I had nothing. and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired." It may surprise regular shoppers to know that the man who has been the manager there for four years, was once homeless and down on his luck.
Once a successful entrepreneur, Hamilton says his life got off track, he turned to drinking and drugging. Then, one night, when he says he had hit rock bottom, he entered the Salvation Army's Rehabilitation program. "They saved my life and turned me around. I started working here at the store as a furniture representative, now I'm the manager of the store."
And Hamilton is just one of many men the program has helped who now work in the store. When shoppers enter or leave, they've no doubt crossed paths with Thomas Corbett III. But, Corbett's future was once pretty dark. " I called here from the streets of Washington D.C. homeless, big down, and the doors opened here, that was 6 year ago, May 24, 2006, I haven't been back. This is home."
From Thomas to Lonnie, and even some workers behind the scenes, you could say they may be the greatest save of all. Hamilton has advice for men who were once where he was, "Don't give up. There is hope for you, leave your mind and your heart open to suggestion. The sky's the limit."
The Salvation Army's Adult Rehabilitation Centers can help men and women who have lost the ability to cope with their problems and provide for themselves. They offer housing, work, group and individual therapy. If you or someone you know needs help, you can call the intake office at 1-800-SA-TRUCK (728-7825) to make an appointment or get more information.