Recently Lamont shared his story at our Wake Up Your Spirit Breakfast and moved the audience to a standing ovation. Read about his incredible journey here, in his own words.
A few years ago I found myself in a very difficult situation when the life that I had came to a screeching halt. I became homeless.
There are very few words that can express how I felt.
After serving 4 years in the Illinois Army National Guard and going through a very traumatic event which led to me losing both of my legs and becoming a double amputee, I was completely lost.
With all my medical needs, life was tough. My divorce in February 2014 devastated me the most.
Yes…in a short amount of time I had lost a lot… I lost my marriage, my home, my job and my legs.
These events put a big strain on the healthy relationship that I had with my two daughters.
I was homeless, cold, and in shock, so I turned to DuPagePads for help.
In addition to using DuPagePads Interim (Overnight) Housing sites for meals and shelter, I worked closely with my case manager, where I received access to many helpful benefits and attended several support groups offered by the DuPagePads Client Service Center that kept me motivated.
I was so determined to get back to work, and get my life back on track that I sought out every opportunity and took many of the suggestions that were offered to me, especially the DuPagePads Career Employment Solutions Program.
I used the computer lab and learned best practices for cover letters and resumes, and I worked very closely with the Employment Director to identify several educational opportunities that lead us to develop a plan for my new career path.
The DuPagePads Employment Director learned of my interest in robotics and believed that I would be an excellent candidate for training in Computerized Numerical Control also known as (CNC machine operating).
This is a superb Manufacturing Program offered through a partnership with Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC). This extensive program was 24 weeks long, for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week and required knowledge of trigonometry, another challenge that I had to face since I had never studied it.
But this did not deter me at all!!! DuPagePads found a math tutor who worked with me two to three days a week for three months leading up to my taking the exam, and guess what?
Yes! I passed the entrance exam, but I still had a lot of hard work ahead of me. I attended CNC training during the day and stayed at the overnight sites at night, studying when I could before lights out.
Keeping up with this pace was challenging to say the least, but I knew I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
They told me that 99% of the students that complete the CNC program and receive their Machinist Skills Certificate will be guaranteed a job and a new career in the Manufacturing Industry..So I said to myself “This is the opportunity of a lifetime and Lamont you will not be that 1%!”
I was very optimistic going to my job interview at a manufacturing plant in Carol Stream. However, they had reservations about me being able to stand for a 12 hour overnight shift as a double amputee. But I assured them, “I’ve come this far, I can do it. Just give me a chance.” I was offered the position and have been working there ever since!
I currently live in a nice home in Lisle, and am now able to support myself and my 12 and 16 year old daughters. I’m so happy I was able to put my life back together again and reconnect with them and watch them both blossom into honor roll students and fine young ladies.
My health is currently good. But as an amputee, it takes me a little longer to prepare and get ready for the day.
Thanks to my job and the medical insurance that they offer I just received a new pair of legs that I’m wearing today – No More Medicaid, Link Card, or S.S.I.
This has truly been a life-changing experience for me. I overcame many difficult obstacles with the assistance of DuPagePads who helped to make all this possible.
So without hesitation I say thank you, thank you, thank you to DuPagePads. Without your resources and passion for helping people I would probably still be homeless and unemployed.
I want to say from my family to yours, I wish all of you a safe & Happy Thanksgiving.
Help us assist more families and individuals in moving home…Please share Lamont’s story with your family and friends. If you are able, consider making a donation to our mission to end homelessness. Learn all the ways your donation can make a difference here.