HARMONY – Living on the edge of homelessness is not something Sgt. Dusty Davis ever thought would happen to him and his family but that’s the reality they are now living.
The U.S. Army veteran, who works full-time for the Army Reserve, has rebounded from a suicide attempt earlier this year and now wants to help other veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“It’s not as spacious a home for somebody with a family of six like us. But we make do,” his wife, Jamie Davis, said.
Home for Jamie and Dusty Davis and their four children is a camper on an abandoned mobile home park lot in Harmony.
Sgt. Davis said he and his wife thought they had found a house to lease.
“But they turned us down. The exact words one guy told us in Hermon is that he was looking for somebody a little more stable. He was looking for someone who wasn’t going to move out in two or three years.
He said that moving into a camper was a tough decision.
“The worst part for me was watching my children sell their clothes, their toys,” he said.
The letters PTSD are tossed around a lot today but living with it is no picnic.
“You’re afraid. You’re vigilant. You’re angry. You’re sad. You’re scared. And it’s all at the same time,” he said.
In April, Sgt. Davis locked himself in his office for four days and took what he refers to as a lot of pills.
“Where I was at was probably the scariest experience I’ve ever had in my life,” he said. “And I don’t ever want to be there again.”
Woodworking has provided sanctuary for Davis and now he wants to build a wood shop. Not just any wood shop but rather a wood shop aimed at helping veterans suffering from PTSD create something out of wood as they turn their lives around.
Davis expects to be discharged from the Army soon, with a medical disability because of the PTSD. He’s set up a GoFundMe page to raise the $100,000 needed to pay for the wood shop. He says if woodworking has helped him cope, maybe it will help others.
“It’s very peaceful. It’s very peaceful. It’s just me and piece of wood,” he said.
After his 18 years, including three deployments to war zones, Davis said, his wife and children have been guiding lights for him as he fights his demons.
“These last few months have been very tough on everybody,” he said. “Too many people don’t understand that PTSD is real.