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Local veteran overcomes addiction, gives back to other struggling veterans

Posted at 6:54 AM, Jan 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-03 05:30:58-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — After battling her own struggles for more than 10 years, Kira Reid is giving back to other veterans at Old Pueblo Community Services.

Kira Reid is a retired Air Force Veteran. She served in the military for 11 years until she was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2007.

Reid took up marathoning and volunteering as she recovered from brain surgery, got married and had a son before being deployed to Afghanistan. She earned more medals before suffering from epilepsy as a side effect of her surgery and was discharged.

This lead her to depression, then addiction.

"I felt like in the end I didn't have a family anymore. I didn't have support like I did in the military. I didn't have really what I could says is a purpose," Reid said. "In the end, all I had was alcohol."

It wasn't until she found Old Pueblo Community Services in 2018 that she was able to overcome her addiction. This organization helps homeless get permanent housing, but they also help with addiction and mental illness.

One of the biggest groups they service is homeless veterans.

"Every veteran that we serve has made a promise at one point in there lives that they would risk there lives," CEO of OPCS Tom Litwicki said. "Then, the agreement in response from the community is that we would provide for there basic needs when they have concerns and problems."

Kira understands that first-hand after struggling with her own addiction. She said she hopes her experiences can help get all homeless veterans off our streets.

"I've been through so much, and I use to be so upset and angry about it," Reid said. "I feel like now I don't need to be upset and angry about it. I feel like now I can use all the trauma and all of the heartache for the better good."

Old Pueblo Community Services was recently selected as Bank of America's Neighborhood Champion Program in Tucson. This is a high impact program for local nonprofits who are poised to take their work to the next level.

As part of the new program, Old Pueblo Community Services will receive $50,000 in grant support and an opportunity to participate in virtual leadership training on topics ranging from human capital to financial sustainability by experts in the nonprofit sector.