U.S. Veteran Overcomes Stroke and Goes on Drug Addiction Recovery With Help From YMCA / by Zina Daniel

Mark Young and Anne Panetti

Mark Young and Anne Panetti

These people teaching the classes are phenomenal! They give me so much motivation to really push myself.
— Mark Young

As a Navy Veteran, Mark Young had good work ethic and drive.

After leaving the military, he always held a job and stayed busy with work and hobbies.

But throughout the years, Mark started feeling stressed about things that happened in his life that he couldn’t control. He developed a drug addiction, and life took a turn on January 5, 2018: He suffered a stroke.

He wasn’t able to do his job anymore, losing his only source of income. This led to homelessness and at some point, he ran out of money to buy food. He didn’t have anyone to turn to.

Working with the VA

After being on his own for a while, Mark eventually found refuge with the Veteran Affairs Domiciliary.

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) runs the Domiciliary Care Program, which provides residential rehabilitation and treatment services for veterans who are suffering from medical conditions, mental illness, or addiction. Treatment services range from mental health treatment, vocational assessment, counseling, to employment leads.

This was exactly what Mark needed — a way to stay busy and engaged.

“They get you out there to see what else you’re interested in and help keep your mind off things,” he said. “Recovering from a drug addiction is hard to do on your own and the VA makes sure that you have the help that you need.”

Workouts at the YMCA

The Veteran Affairs Domiciliary recently partnered with the Benjamin Harrison YMCA, which brings its residents to the Y facility every week on Tuesdays and Thursdays to take part in classes or work out on their own.

Mark was one of the residents who exercised and rehabilitated at the YMCA. Working with the Care Program, he enrolled in the Deep Water Aerobics class, which helps individuals use the buoyancy of water to help improve their strength, cardiovascular fitness, and overall flexibility.

Deep water exercises have helped Mark manage his weight, improve his balance, and increase his physical stability.

Mark said that the classes and the instructors had a great impact on his outlook on life. “These people teaching the classes are phenomenal! They give me so much motivation to really push myself,” he said.

Anne Panetti, one of his instructors, said Mark was a great student. He constantly tried to improve his own capabilities. “Mark is hungry and pushes himself to do more,” she said.

Mark looks forward to becoming a member of the YMCA to continue his fitness and recovery journey.

To make an online contribution that will help people like Mark, visit indymca.org/annual-campaign-support