Entering a recovery home where everyone is a veteran creates a common bond between the participants. The goal is that the common bond will help hold the residents of the home to a higher standard. (Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)
‘What it means to serve’
Second Class Petty Officer Brian Keys was the product of a military family and bounced around the country. Just before his 18th birthday, he joined the Navy and served for eight years from Norfolk to Singapore.
After his discharge, he ran into troubles with alcohol and later ended up behind bars.
Like Kevin, Brian’s still living in a recovery home. Because of their experiences and their desire to help others, both are members of the advisory board that oversees The Higher Standard Project.
He believes the program will work because it’s veterans holding veterans accountable.
“I’ll meet guys and won’t be sure how to feel about them, but once I find out they were in the military, there’s a bond,” Brian says. “They know what it means to serve.”
Veterans living together and sharing the responsibilities of a suburban home and living to the highest possible standards will be beneficial, he says.
“It sounds regimented, but you’re OK with that because you’re here and trying to make a change,” Brian says. “It will be a nurturing environment.”
Much of the work on The Higher Standard Project has been done by veterans like Second Class Petty Officer Brian Keys, some of whom use the hours working on the home to add to their own hours of community service. (Photos by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)
Given a purpose
When he left the Marines, Kevin felt alone and like he had lost his identity. With The Higher Standard Project, he’s discovered himself outside of military service.
“This has given me a tribe again,” Kevin says. “I’m back in a place where people depend on me. It’s given me purpose again.”
Part of that purpose is using his experience to help his fellow veterans.
“To be able to come back from where I was,” he says, “look at someone and say, ‘Hey man, I know it sucks right now, but let me tell you how I got through it,’ is honorable.”