Ben Moya- Assistant Warehouse Manager
Go Green Warehouse
“The Third Life Transition is a Charm”
Ben Moya was homeless for more than a decade. Bouncing from one relative’s couch to the next and staying in motels when he had work, he only did a small bit of “street living” – but that didn’t fit well with him, he says. Today, Ben has a place to live and permanent employment, thanks to the Go Green Warehouse. He’s able to pay rent for the first time in years. And it feels good.
Born and raised in Denver, Ben joined the Army straight out of high school. Stationed at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, Ben experienced culture shock as he transitioned from living with his parents and being taken care of, to traveling away from home and fending for himself. Even so, the Army taught him important life lessons. “They took an unstable hot head kid and turned him into a responsible young man,” he says, adding, “I had more respect for people and things.”
Unfortunately, after leaving the military, Ben was one of the thousands of former servicemen and women who slip through the cracks – entering back into society with no education, no direction, and little support. He was out of the Army for 35 years before he received help from the VA. “I had a GI Joe mentality. I didn’t want to ask for help, or didn’t know how to.”
When Ben connected with the Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program in Denver last year, he was urged to apply for work at the Go Green Warehouse. “I let my work ethic speak for itself,” he laughs. Ben had accumulated 30 years of work experience in warehousing, thanks to his Army job as an ammunition technician and a variety of temporary warehouse jobs.
After three months with the Go Green Warehouse’s pilot program providing temporary placement assistance to formerly homeless veterans, Ben took a position with a waste and recycling company. Three months later, he was laid off, and once more sought work. The Go Green Warehouse hired Ben back in a permanent employment position, which he eagerly accepted.
At 53 years old, Ben says that his new job has revealed previously hidden people skills. He is now a salesman in addition to overseeing the loading dock area and preparing donated home improvement materials for sale. “Customers know me now, and they ask for me. I put my best foot forward to help them find what they need. And they like my conversation – I have the gift of gab.”
Ben’s transition to the civilian workforce, as both a veteran and a formerly homeless person, is an adjustment. And having had a place to call home only since mid-September 2012 – he’s got the place furnished now and is filling the cupboards with groceries – Ben is “soaking it all in.” He says he’ll get used to the regular paycheck and roof over his head, and will “give 110 percent to get the job done.”