Veteran, former drug addict returns to painting thanks to Welcome Home

2 months 3 weeks 1 day ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 4:19:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
By: Annie Hammock, KOMU 8 Interactive Director and Sarah Hill, Guest Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA -  As Welcome Home marks the first anniversary of its new shelter, a once drug-addicted veteran is artfully finding his way in a new life.

“The people there did amazing things for me. I wouldn’t be here without them,” Robert Scott Gardner said.

He is one of more than 200 people served in the past year by Welcome Home, which provides emergency and transitional services to at-risk and homeless vets.

“It’s really a second chance at life that Welcome Home provides these veterans,” Development Director Megan Sievers said.

That second chance helped Gardner reconnect with his passion for painting. He had put down his brushes after he picked up a needle.

“I was a very active IV cocaine user in the 80s. I was into that and I was into shooting dope. It got really bad in ‘85, ‘86 and I pretty much lost everything I had,” Gardner said.

Drug addiction, divorce, job loss, depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation colored Gardner’s existence. He was barely hanging on.

“So I made a phone call,” he said. “I was out of electricity at the time. Water was out on and off, and I called the treatment center line that I heard on the radio at the time. It started there.

That call pointed Gardner in the direction of Welcome Home, which helped him get mental health services and housing. It gave him the support and encouragement he needed to start a new canvas.

“I just focused on producing and living and the thing that I was told from kindergarten to high school was that ‘you have so much potential. So much potential,’’ he said. “My parents ‘Scott you have so much potential’ and I just realized I’m going to try to live to my potential and it’s done amazing things.”

Gardner recently won a first-place ribbon at Art in the Park.

"At that moment, I thought I can do anything. Sky’s the limit. So I’ve been trying to do it," he said.

Gardner’s work had earned even greater accolades in the past. His paintings hang in galleries around Missouri.

“He has no idea how beautiful his stuff is. I think that’s what makes it beautiful and special and priceless,“ Sievers said.

For decades, the beauty of life and art escaped Gardner. Now he sees himself as a masterpiece in progress, getting those finishing touches.

“When I'm painting, creating, restoring, using my mind. Using my talents,” he said. “I don’t think about anything else but what’s the possibilities.”

Gardner’s paintings are featured on his Facebook page.

Welcome Home also provides housing for female veterans and veterans with families. The organization’s website details how veterans in crisis can get the help they need.

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - Police are investigating after a person died from a gunshot wound Tuesday night. According to a... More >>
45 minutes ago Wednesday, December 12 2018 Dec 12, 2018 Wednesday, December 12, 2018 9:17:00 AM CST December 12, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Mayor Brian Treece and other special guests will meet Monday to announce the future of Columbia’s holiday parade... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, December 12 2018 Dec 12, 2018 Wednesday, December 12, 2018 3:29:00 AM CST December 12, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA- Volunteer hours for the City of Columbia are down from last year. In Columbia, volunteers served 39,204 hours... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, December 12 2018 Dec 12, 2018 Wednesday, December 12, 2018 3:10:00 AM CST December 12, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A second-degree domestec assault charge against Missouri Football defensive end will not be filed, according to the... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, December 11 2018 Dec 11, 2018 Tuesday, December 11, 2018 8:24:00 PM CST December 11, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri recently joined the ranks of many colleges across the country by starting up an... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, December 11 2018 Dec 11, 2018 Tuesday, December 11, 2018 8:08:00 PM CST December 11, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - An investigation into a First Student bus concern has lead to an increased police presence in one... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, December 11 2018 Dec 11, 2018 Tuesday, December 11, 2018 7:29:00 PM CST December 11, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - After almost three years, Jefferson City now has new and improved fire trucks. Jefferson City Fire... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, December 11 2018 Dec 11, 2018 Tuesday, December 11, 2018 7:03:00 PM CST December 11, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Neighbors on Lasso Circle in Columbia's Old Hawthorne neighborhood feel safe, but are more vigilant exactly a year... More >>
15 hours ago Tuesday, December 11 2018 Dec 11, 2018 Tuesday, December 11, 2018 6:07:00 PM CST December 11, 2018 in News
FULTON - Fulton Soup Kitchen is working to open its new location in Fulton, but a $1,700 utilities down payment... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, December 11 2018 Dec 11, 2018 Tuesday, December 11, 2018 5:18:00 PM CST December 11, 2018 in News
OZARK, Mo. (AP) — The southwest Missouri city of Ozark that had said it was removing a Christian cross from... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, December 11 2018 Dec 11, 2018 Tuesday, December 11, 2018 5:17:00 PM CST December 11, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- The Columbia Police Department is investigating a death downtown. CPD announced the investigation on Twitter just after 4... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, December 11 2018 Dec 11, 2018 Tuesday, December 11, 2018 4:44:00 PM CST December 11, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — An eastern Missouri doctor has been sentenced to more than three years in prison for prescribing... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, December 11 2018 Dec 11, 2018 Tuesday, December 11, 2018 2:48:09 PM CST December 11, 2018 in Continuous News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Kansas City man who told officers he was planning to kill someone and was "kinda... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, December 11 2018 Dec 11, 2018 Tuesday, December 11, 2018 2:42:49 PM CST December 11, 2018 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY - As Missouri's Secretary of State waits for a response from the State Auditor, a political expert weighed... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, December 11 2018 Dec 11, 2018 Tuesday, December 11, 2018 2:41:00 PM CST December 11, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department has been dispatched to Ballenger Lane in North Columbia 11 times so far this... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, December 11 2018 Dec 11, 2018 Tuesday, December 11, 2018 2:21:00 PM CST December 11, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Walgreens is giving Missouri a new tool in the fight against opioid abuse, and it's a simple... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, December 11 2018 Dec 11, 2018 Tuesday, December 11, 2018 2:02:00 PM CST December 11, 2018 in News
TAOS - A school bus holding 38 students ranging from K-12 was hit head-on Tuesday morning while stopped on Dove... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, December 11 2018 Dec 11, 2018 Tuesday, December 11, 2018 12:19:00 PM CST December 11, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Both U.S. senators from Missouri are demanding answers about the death of a veteran after an... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, December 11 2018 Dec 11, 2018 Tuesday, December 11, 2018 10:58:05 AM CST December 11, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 40°
11am 39°
12pm 41°
1pm 44°
2pm 47°