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"Move-Out Day" For Collier County Veteran

A year in the Alpha House for U.S. Army veteran to take his life back.
Posted at 8:45 PM, Apr 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-29 23:36:25-04

NAPLES, Fla. — Deep within the walls of a modest home in Naples, the veterans who live inside are in the midst of a re-birth.

"I, actually, was abusing alcohol when I was in the service and my life spiraled, downward, after the service."

That is Jerry Sweney's story. He spent years on a Black Hawk helicopter, as a crew chief working to disrupt enemy communication. Sweney kept a crew together.

When he returned to America, this Army veterans struggled to keep himself together.

"I tried to do it on my own and it just wasn't working," said Sweney. "I was homeless when I meet these guys."

"These guys" are the men inside Alpha House, one of three homes that the Wounded Warriors of Collier County now operate.

"The Alpha House was the first (house) to open," said Dale Mullin, the group's president and founder. "They should not be here more than a year. They get their jobs, cars, fines paid off and get their lives restored and move on."

A Vietnam veteran, Mullin said Alpha House had seven beds and fifteen veterans have lived there. He said the veterans who have come through Alpha House leave with a "success rate" of 86 percent.

Mullin notes the issues with affordable housing in Collier County, a story that has been a constantly all throughout 2022.

"There aren't any places for people to live here at the poverty level to live here in CCollier County and we provide affordable housing," said Mullin.

On this day, Jerry Sweney is in the process of moving out and moving on.

But not entirely "moving on".

Rebecca Sweney has waited for this day, through hundreds of trying nights.

"We've had to be apart for the past year and it's been really hard on our marriage," said Rebecca. "We've done all this work so we can, finally, be together as a family."

Her husband, Jerry, notes that he's also ready to retrieve his life but wants to also shine a light on the constant concerns of homelessness with veterans.

"We have a large populations of veterans living in the woods," said Sweney. "Contact the Wounded Warriors of Collier County. JHelp is here. Come and get it."

As the group is looking to add a fourth home with ten beds, the Wounded Warriors of Collier County encourages donations. Specifically, monetary and Mullins tells FOX4 that they're have enough furniture.

Address: 4851 Tamiami Trail North, Unit 226, Naples, FL 34103
Phone: (239) 302-1800