The name Once Was Inc reflects the personal story of Petty Officer Michael Edmond
I Once Was an Active-Duty Service Member
I Once Was on Drugs
I Once Was Homeless
Petty Officer Edmond joined the Navy in 1991. Michael’s attention to detail, strong work ethic, and genuine loyalty was a perfect fit for a life of service. During his tenor Michael was deployed three times. As a result, he developed PTSD. Servicemembers are trained to defend Our Nation, however they are not trained to deal with the effects the sacrifice causes in their personal lives. Lacking emotional tools and not having time to heal emotionally between deployments, he began using drugs to cope. During his second reenlistment Michael was released from the US Navy for drug use and returned home to Carencro, LA, without guidance and resources to transition to civilian life.
When he came home to Carencro, LA with PTSD among other issues he couldn’t find the help he needed to transition to civilian life. Employers would reject him saying he was overqualified, the changes in his personality that were related to PTSD caused his family and friends to reject him. He became addicted and ended up homeless.
Feeling hopeless, addicted, and confused, Petty Officer Edmond moved to Houston, Texas. There is where he discovered the Veterans Hospital and learned about his benefits as a veteran. The road to recovery was still rocky after this discovery. He was rejected for housing but was granted employment assistance. While employed at the VA hospital he became a college graduate receiving his bachelor’s utilizing the GI Bill/Post 911, and a certified peer specialist, helping other Veterans that deal with PTSD and Addiction. Houston is also where he met his wife Racquel, a schoolteacher in the greater Houston area. With her love and support, the purpose in the pain came to life
Once Was Inc was founded in 2018. The couple’s desire to give back to the nation’s service members and their immediate families, focusing on those that do not have direct access to a military facility.