Veterans life insurance

Recovering veterans give back to the community | New

A small group of people gathered at State Park on Saturday at the request of Bubba Jacobs. Jacobs is a recovering veteran and member of Veterans and Patriots United (VPU). He invited his cohorts and mentors to the park to share a meal and testify about his experiences to show his gratitude to those who helped him and his colleagues get to where they are now.

“Today I just wanted to bring everyone together to say thank you for all you do for us. You have shown so much kindness and compassion to these guys and all the things they go through day to day. said Jacobs.

“State Park is a special place for us,” said Amos Savell, founder of VPU. “The peace and quiet of Raven Lake has made it a safe place for Bible study and fellowship for our guys. We are all connected in this journey. It’s more than rebuilding. We are able to heal and give back.

Amos Savell founded Veterans and Patriots United (VPU) last year with a mission to help displaced veterans restore their lives and reintegrate into society. The program and its housing unit have proven to be a lifesaver on the road to recovery for those who have passed through its doors.

“Bubba is known as the anchor of the security team,” Savell said, referring to the people at VPU who help keep their members safe and their outward role as a volunteer security force for vulnerable groups.

“These guys sharpened me like they sharpen themselves,” said Trevor Ming, a friend and mentor at Groveton. Ming learned from some parents at his church that their boys were being bullied at school, so he put the parents in touch with VPU members. Bubba and the security team are now bringing McDonald’s lunch to these boys at their elementary school in Trinity.

“We decided as an organization that we wanted to go sit with these kids. Some of us were bullied as children, so we understand how it can affect them,” Jacobs said. They give these boys an example of how to behave and stick together. VPU members affectionately call the boys Junior Fire Team Members.

In the military, a fireteam is a group of four or fewer soldiers who act as a cohesive unit. The presence of the VPU Safety Team on campus has already had a positive impact on bullied boys. Just by visiting at lunch and walking the boys back to class, they send the message that the boys are protected and are beginning to see some acceptance among their peer group.

The security team has also been known to show up and provide security for women who hold vigils and peaceful protest acts. The team looks great. They are trained military officers who have seen more than their fair share of military combat. But the only battles they actively fight these days are those of inner peace and sobriety.

They have two mental health professionals who are part of the security team; Bob Lewis and Lewis Foxworth, who are both veterans and retired TDCJ advisors. They guide VPU men and give them the tools they need to work towards healing and positive social interaction. Jacobs uses this knowledge and his own experiences to help other veterans of the program.

“They’re opening up to me when they might not be opening up to anyone else,” Jacobs said. “I am hypervigilant. I note everything. I’m always three steps ahead. He applies the skills he used to sustain himself and his fellow soldiers in combat to keep them safe and operational in society and at home in the VPU housing unit.

“I was connected to VPU through a mutual friend when I was trying to figure out what to do with myself after retirement,” Lewis said. “I noticed that the whole house has matured as we hoped. The men are dedicated to recovery and community work, and there’s an ease that wasn’t there before. Collectively, Savell and his five volunteers have helped 30 veterans reintegrate into society and currently house seven who are working towards that goal.

Jacobs was a tough case, but Savell felt compelled by what he was told about the kind of soldier Jacobs was and the situation they found themselves in just days after they met.

Jacobs arrived in Huntsville at VPU in May. Three days later, he attempts to commit suicide by overdose. He remained in a coma for 23 days. He was on a ventilator for five of those days and was not expected to survive. Because they had shared many of the same experiences during the Iraq War, Savell took a very personal interest in Jacob’s recovery. He sat and read the Bible to her frequently while he was in the hospital.

“Seeing Bubba in the state he was in left me very traumatized. I wanted to make sure he knew he was loved and mattered,” Savell said.

When Jacobs came out of a coma, he was moved to another hospital without Savell’s knowledge. There was a problem with his medical insurance and Jacobs was discharged with nowhere else to go. He was back on the street. Through a network of individuals, he was located by Jeff Shilanski of FOB Rasor in Conroe, who contacted Savell. They found Jacobs in a parking lot off the 1960 freeway and brought him back to VPU in August.

“I can’t tell you what happened other than dying, but I started to process things differently. I had been blind to what God’s gift was,” Jacobs said. He engaged in his inner work, mastering his personal challenges and helping others by sharing his journey. Jacobs said one of his biggest challenges is patience.

“I don’t like to wait for anything. I want what I want right now, and that rarely gets me what I want. But I find that when I wait patiently, I get what I want. In his quest to master patience, the related challenge is the search for forgiveness.

“I’ve done a lot of colorful things in my past. I want forgiveness; to get people to agree with the things I’ve done. But they are not. So I have to wait for that,” Jacobs said. This is intrinsically linked to the work on self-mastery.

“I have to work hard every day to control who I am. But knowing this about myself makes me more aware. I get a lot of advice. My advisor told me to stop trying to be perfect. It works a lot better than trying to do everything right,” Jacobs said.

In his talk, it becomes clear that he has a gift for interweaving the elements of recovery with the spiritual lessons contained in Galatians’ “Fruit of the Spirit,” which he uses as a framework for sharing his testimony. He explained how accepting responsibility for our actions is a major part of recovery. He links this directly to the laws of planting and harvesting, saying that making a list of those we have hurt is a good start to planting good seeds.

It encourages us to look at the people around us. He refers to Savell’s repeated kindness, both to himself and in helping individuals at VPU as an example of the fruition. Keeping nice people around has been key to his recovery.

Being exposed to kindness and those who are vulnerable led Jacobs to develop gentleness. He lived on the streets for years and gang life was part of that time. He said the birth of his identical twin daughters was the first time he felt what it’s like to be sweet. He says the gentleness is one of the ways he connects with his band members.

“There’s always a reason behind people’s actions,” Jacobs said. “We can’t always know what those reasons are. We have to be tactful, gentle and kind, especially with the guys I hang out with.

Bubba grew up in Mississippi and experienced trauma from an early age. He joined the army at 17, believing it would solve his problems and give him the life he wanted. His battalion was one of the first to be deployed in Iraq. At 19, he was abroad for the first time, witnessing atrocities most civilians could never imagine.

“I have seen the evil in the world. I have seen happy hearts turn to stone. I’ve seen men commit suicide,” Jacobs said. “As a young child it can really mess up your mind. You get used to the way the dog eats the dog of the world. You get involved in things you don’t want to be involved in. That’s why I say I lost my soul in Iraq.

Jacobs turned to heroin to numb his trauma. This landed him in jail. He spent three years in solitary confinement and says he almost lost his mind. After his release, he lived on the streets for years.

It is estimated that there are more than 30,000 veterans homeless every night in the United States. Reports indicate that 80% of them suffer from PTSD or other mental health and addiction problems.

Trying to find peace has been a long road and is still a work in progress. Jacobs said the way the people of Huntsville treat veterans is a blessing. Thanks to the kindness and connections of Tara Burnett and the folks at the HEARTS Museum, he has his own accommodation and an additional support group for VPU members. He also thanks Dave Smith and Good Shepherd Mission for providing resources and fellowship to the group.

In his closing remarks at the park, Jacobs reminded us to appreciate the simple things, like looking at Raven Lake on a chilly Saturday morning, listening to music, and cooking a meal for his team. When asked what he’d like to pass on to anyone who’s been on a similar trip, he said:

“God is real. Don’t give up and don’t lose faith. It may be a struggle, but it’s definitely worth it in the end,” Jacobs said.

VPU is a relatively new organization with a large mission and limited resources. They still need funding to cover housing costs and utilities, food, and basics like toiletries, paper products, and cleaning supplies. The public is encouraged to donate through the Covenant Fellowship of Huntsville at To learn more about VPU, visit their website at