Charles “Chuck” Jackson, a US Army veteran, was trained as a combat medic and performed wound care in Army hospitals before leaving the military in 2000. Chuck worked as a mechanic in his home state of Minnesota, and after several years, he moved to Colorado Springs.
Chuck had never lived in Colorado Springs but had been to Ft. Carson on a few occasions and loved the view of the mountains. He was able to find similar mechanic work at an auto shop and worked his way up to managing a Valvoline Oil Change Center.
In 2016, Chuck was diagnosed with Charcot foot, a disease caused by peripheral neuropathy, common in people with diabetes, which damages the nerves in the lower legs and feet. This can ultimately cause the bones of the feet to become weak, to break, and the joints to dislocate causing deformities in the feet. Unfortunately, Chuck underwent surgery to amputate his right leg under his knee. After recovering, he wanted to return to his previous work but was unable to. Chuck became certified as a flagger through a local temporary employment agency and worked his way up to becoming a flagger supervisor.
Unfortunately, in 2020, Chuck fell on the job and broke his left kneecap. Due to his underlying health issues, Chuck’s injury quickly became septic. The doctors tried to control the sepsis, but to no avail. Chuck soon underwent a second surgery to amputate his lower left leg.
During this time, at the height of COVID and due to his newly acquired status as a double amputee, Chuck had difficulty finding work. He believed he could still do the kind of work he had done for 20 years, but could not get hired.
Around this time, Chuck had to move from his rented home. He relocated to the Springs Rescue Mission and unfortunately, began to use drugs. He came In his words, he “intended to smoke himself to death” using his drug of his choice, methamphetamine. In July of 2021, Chuck suffered a stroke and was taken to the hospital where he decided to turn his life around. After leaving the hospital, Chuck joined the work engagement program with Springs Rescue Mission, and from there he was referred to the ReHire Colorado Program.
When Chuck was first referred to the ReHire Program, it was difficult for the team to place him into a worksite that could turn into a longer-term position and aligned with his experience and goals. In January 2022, Chuck was placed to work with the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in their lighting department, testing and repairing donated lighting fixtures to prepare them for resale. Chuck was immediately more excited and engaged about this work, and after working at the ReStore for several weeks was offered a permanent position in March 2022!
Chuck has become a part of the ReHire family, along with his diabetic alert dog, Yoshi. The ReHire program has made Chuck feel “empowered, like [he] could make it and not be judged while [he] was struggling to make it.” He states ReHire “gave [him] the skills and the confidence necessary to get back out in the workforce and the community and be the most [he] can be.”
The ReHire team is proud of Chuck for all he has overcome, his dedication to himself, and we wish him the best of luck in his new career!