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Through the 11 of Us project, WNPR and CPBN's Institute for Advanced Media are sharing eleven personal stories from veterans and those in their community.In the series, veterans talk about their service and what it means to be a veteran.CPBN is hosting a clothing drive for veterans and their families in Connecticut. Bring new clothing with tags still attached, or gift cards for the purchase of new clothing, to CPBN at 1049 Asylum Avenue in Hartford, attention Mike Komrosky. The drive ends November 17.11 of Us is made possible by Victory Energy Solutions and New England Conservation Services.

Connecticut Navy Veteran No Longer Homeless

Victor Suwatcharapinun
Steven Bernier is a U.S. Navy veteran.
"If you're not ready to quit something, that doesn't mean you have to stay under the bridge."<br><em>Steven Bernier </em>

In the days leading up to Veterans Day, WNPR brings you stories from veterans and those in their community. 

Steven Bernier served in the U.S. Navy.

"I loved it. I would have stayed in over 20 if I could have. But I became a single parent. So I got out, learned the restaurant business. Opened up my first restaurant I think it was in ‘92. Then I opened up my bar and my father says, “Don’t do it.” Because he just knew.

"And about four months into me owning the bar, 2 o’clock in the morning, I says, ‘Oh I’ll have one shot’ and then, boom, I was on a run with alcohol.

"I was living under a pier in New London, Connecticut and somebody told me about the homeless shelter. I went to the VA; I checked myself into the emergency room, and went to a substance abuse program. It’s a 21-day program but I did like 40-something, and that basically was my road to recovery.

Credit Victor Suwatcharapinun CPBN
Steven Bernier experienced chronic homelessness. He was helped by veteran specific outreach programs in the community and at the VA.

"If you’re not ready to quit something, that doesn't mean you have to stay under the bridge, OK? There’s places -- come stay here; we’ll take care of you; get warm first. And then we’ll tackle the second thing, and then we’ll tackle the third thing. It’s like a domino effect. I have my own apartment now. I’ve had it for, January it'll be two years. You’ve gotta take the first step."

Lucy is the Executive Producer and Host of Connecticut Public's morning talk show, 'Where We Live.' She’s a longtime public radio reporter covering several beats including immigration, juvenile justice and child welfare issues, education, veterans affairs and the military.
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