A quiet man with heavy-lidded eyes and a serious demeanor, Clark downplays the significance of his service, “I signed up because I wanted to help but I haven’t done much. Others have done more. I came back. Others didn’t.”
He misses the structure of the military. “When you come back, you feel like you don’t belong. Your family and your friends don’t understand. You hear your friends complaining about things and you think, ‘no one will die if you don’t make that car payment.’ War makes you aware, and it alienates you.”
“When you leave the military, you feel like an orphan. You went from a job that had a purpose of helping people and you come back and you don’t have a mission. You come back and you are changed. You don’t have a purpose. You feel worthless. In the military, in war, if I do this, whether I live or die, I know I’m helping someone.”
He came to SRO Housing through a Veterans Administration program. He applied and was approved for housing at the newly renovated Rosslyn Hotel Apartments. He will be among the first new residents, moving in on September 29, 2014. When he visited the building for a tour of his new home, he marveled at the detail of the lobby ceiling. He was silent as he walked from the elevator to his 10th floor unit, following the building manager. As the door swung open, he gasped, then strode to the window to look out and finally stood back to take in the room, stunned.
“That takes a weight off my shoulders. Thank you.”
Aaron Clark was profiled in a Los Angeles Times article. Click here to read more.
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