Veteran Stories

Paul Carpenter

Having a father, four brothers, and a brother-in-law who all served in the military was inspiration enough for Paul Carpenter to enlist in the U.S. Navy. Paul told us. “If you didn’t go to college, you went into the military. Serving in the military was one of the best opportunities I gave myself.”

In 1979, Paul completed Basic Training at Great Lakes Naval Base in Illinois. From there, he transferred to Norfolk, Virginia, to serve as a Mechanical Engineer onboard the USS America. Not much time passed before Paul began having problems with his feet. Paul explained, “I served on the USS America while it was dry docked. When the ship was dry docked, there are few people on that ship. I’d go tell my superiors about the discomfort, but they never took it seriously.” It turns out that Paul acquired flat feet from a pre-existing condition. He continued, “I did everything that I could to help myself, but it wasn’t enough.” Paul was medically discharged in 1980.

Paul returned to his civilian home in Mississippi in a depressed and anxious state. He battled substance abuse for years before deciding to move to Connecticut in 1992 for a change of environment. He worked in construction until he decided to move to Chicago in 1997 to seek treatment from the Hines VA Medical Center. He consulted with many podiatrist and psychologist in hopes of finding solutions for his physical and psychological pain. Eventually, Paul decided to return to Mississippi, where his family helped him receive long-term care from a local hospital.

Today, Paul lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, with his life partner, Arnetta. The roof of their house has been leaking for a long time, but Paul is unable to climb onto the roof to make repairs due to his limited mobility. Purple Heart Homes, The First – A National Banking Association, R3SM, the city of Hattiesburg, The Home Depot, and the Hattiesburg HBA are working together to provide Paul and Arnetta with the repairs necessary for a safe and secure roof. When asked what this assistance means to them, Paul exclaimed, “We are very, very thankful and grateful. We appreciate this so much.”

We appreciate your service, Paul. Welcome to the Purple Heart Homes family!

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