Archie grew up primarily in Warren, Michigan, with a single mother, Elsie, and a younger sister. Even though there was no man in the house, Archie credits his mother with raising him to be a man. He moved around a little, but always within Michigan.
In 1976 he joined the Army, he felt it was the right thing to do, and to this day does not regret his decision. He was an E4, and at the time he left the military he was acting as an E6 and was a radio repairman for the Army. During his last year in the Army he was in charge of 18 M60A Duce Tanks, 3 Jeeps, and 1 APC. Archie feels that it is thanks to the Army that he learned leadership skills. Had it not been for the Army, he would not have been employed with an auto parts shipping and receiving company for 20 years, and would not have been the manager of that company.
Archie is the proud father one daughter, Darcy. As a result of his stay at the Willis Cruse House he is trying to reach out and get back in touch with her. When Archie was younger, he went looking for his father, and he didn’t like what he found, because his father was an alcoholic. “I knew that I didn’t want my child to grow up with a father like that, or for her to think of her father that way.” Archie has been clean and sober since 1979.
Archie stayed in Michigan for a time after the Army to take care of his ailing mother. He states that he’d always been so involved in taking care of others, and now that it’s just him, he needs to take care of himself. Archie was working as a 24 hour a day home healthcare provider in Missoula, and had been for a number of years. He feels that the reason he ended up homeless was because he was just burnt out. As a result of this he lost his place to live.
He feels that his time at The Willis Cruse House has given him an opportunity not to need to “worry about where I’m going to lay my head at night.” It has also given him a chance “To worry about getting my health in order.” He feels that for a long time his health had taken a backseat to his desire to help others, and said “Now that I’m getting older, my body is telling me- ‘Hey, danger!’”
Archie’s goals right now are to get healthier, go back to work, maybe even school “Anything is open at this point,” he says with a grin.
His hobbies include- investing in stocks, going to the gym (3-4 days a week), walking nature trails, fishing, skiing, mountain climbing and horseback riding.
He feels there needs to be more places like the Willis Cruse House helping OUR Veterans. He says “Some of these young people coming home now, won’t have a place to come home to. They’re going to need help dealing with psychological issues.” He says “I’ve never been in combat, but I can sympathize with them. Even when the dust settles, there are still going to be problems when they get home.”
“We can’t send our young ones to battle, and then toss them away. There needs to be help.” Archie also stated that “there were issues when people got back from Vietnam, and no one would help them. This time around at least there’s a start to deal with it.”
*All veterans interviewed signed legally binding releases of their stories