TWIN FALLS — Nearly 30 years ago, David Aullman fought the Republican Guard in Desert Storm.
After four years of active duty, Aullman received an honorable discharge, but came home with post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Five years ago, his daughter, Lilly, now 16, was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own tissue and organs.
“I was a single parent with custody of a sick daughter,” he said. “The stress became too much.”
Aullman’s PTSD came back — although it had never fully gone away.
“I knew I still had some old demons,” the 48-year-old Twin Falls man said.
He began to have panic attacks. “With PTSD, the body does what it needs to do to survive,” he said.
He withdrew from friends and family, and isolated himself from society. Extreme depression set in, and Aullman began drinking to self-medicate.
The Veterans Administration helped with the emotional aspect — he’s now clean and sober — but he still needed a boost to get back on his feet. Then he found South Central Community Action Partnership.
“It’s been a godsend,” he said. “They are saints in my book.”
SCCAP initially put him in a transitional house, and recently got him into an affordable housing unit. The Department of Veterans Affairs pays his rent.
Then Aullman was in a wreck and his car was totaled. SCCAP case worker Karen Embleton entered Aullman in Progressive Insurance Co.’s nationwide Keys to Progress car giveaway for veterans. He won a 2014 Honda Accord with only 14,000 miles on it, one of 500 cars given away in the program’s first five years.
He now works full time hauling milk for a trucking company in Buhl, and will soon be able to pay his own rent.
That’s how SCCAP works, “building bridges toward self-sufficiency,” said Ken Robinette, executive director. SCCAP connects its clients to many partners — Idaho Power Co., Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Idaho Housing and Finance, Veterans Administration and Housing Urban Development, to name a few — to provide food assistance, weatherization, energy assistance, self-help housing and medical assistance.
“David is an example of those individuals wanting to help themselves,” Robinette said. “And through that assistance, we provided him with the resources that he could pursue to reach self-sufficiency.”