Helping Others Brings Healing A Veteran’s Story

For about a year, from 2015 to the scorching heat of the summer of 2016, Tyler Bowser–a veteran of the US Air Force–lived in his car and struggled to find a positive trajectory for his life. He was reeling from the loss of his 16-month-old daughter to a rare disease after losing his first child, and almost losing his wife during a difficult pregnancy. “Being downrange in Afghanistan, losing my children and then going through a divorce,” he says. “Those were dark days.”  

The bottom seemed to fall out of his world–yet again–when his car was repossessed that summer. Now, he appreciates how far he’s come, working to make others’ lives better. Last week, Tyler volunteered on Atlanta Habitat’s Veteran’s Build. The former senior airman’s most difficult days seem to be behind him.

“Since then, I’ve gotten sober and I’m leading a new way of life,” he says. He’d met Sean Walker, now Habitat for Humanity International’s associate director for Veteran Builds, who directed him to Veteran’s Empowerment Organization of Georgia. At first, he accessed the organization’s support services, then he became a full-time community ambassador, spreading a message of empowerment to the men and women who served our country, often at great personal sacrifice.

But it is completing work on an Atlanta Habitat house with fellow veterans in late October that has him feeling particularly thankful. “It was awesome to be able to help Morgane and her daughter achieve their dream of owning a home,” he says, speaking of one of Atlanta Habitat’s newest homebuyers. 

We don’t know them all, but we owe them all. US military veterans are an important part of Atlanta Habitat. The organization actively recruits veterans for every program, including Repair with Kindness, new homebuyer opportunities, volunteer positions and a full array of education programming.

“Serving other veterans, and helping people in general become more empowered is helping me to heal,” Tyler says. He plans to continue volunteering on Atlanta Habitat house builds alongside new homeowners and fellow veterans. “Most of us want peace, compassion, understanding and less conflict and war," he says. “That’s why I’m rooting for the home team!”