In 2010, Alicia Watkins appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to tell her story.
The 10-year veteran was homeless, living out of a car that she rented for $10 a day.
Watkins served in Iraq and Afghanistan, where she risked her life and watched others give their lives in the service. But when she returned home, she had nowhere to live. At one point, she did find housing, but she gave up that comfort to a homeless mother of three children.
Watch more on Alicia Watkins’ story below:
“It might have been different had I not seen the children and the babies. So, I decided to be on the street and put them in the room,” Watkins told Oprah five years ago. “Why wouldn’t I?”
But now, things are looking better for Watkins.
She is living with a family friend after her friends and family found out she was homeless by watching the show. Until the interview aired, they had no idea how desperate her situation was.
“I had… alienated myself from everyone,” she admits now. “They really were shocked when they found out, and they were also just hurt by the fact that I was suffering.”
Unfortunately, Watkins is still struggling to find work because of her health problems.
“I have traumatic brain injury, I have post-traumatic stress disorder, I have a spinal cord injury,” she says. “It’s a hard road. I would love to be able to work today. I have offers, I have people that are willing to help me, but they all have to take a backseat to my health. As much as I want to work, I have to acknowledge that I am a casualty of war.”
Still, Watkins is looking to the future. “I wanted to be able to care for wounded warriors, and so I decided to apply to Harvard University,” she says. “In 2012, I was accepted. My college expenses are paid by the G.I. Bill.”
Even her personal life has turned a corner. “I recently got engaged, on my birthday of all days,” she says. “It is amazing.”