Veteran guiding veteran to better life

FREDERICK, Md. (WMAR) - They served as U.S. Army Rangers, Albeit several years apart with the 75th ranger regiment.

But this duo didn't meet in Afghanistan or at a stateside base.

“I was living in my car for close to 4 years,” said Will Gunlock.

Gunlock was at a homeless shelter when he met Marcus Hull, an RBC Wealth Management Financial Advisor.

Hull didn't just see a homeless veteran, he saw an articulate man who needed a break.

“It was just kind of weird like why are you homeless. There’s a lot more going on here. This one-hour conversation is nowhere near enough I need to explore a little bit more,” said Hull.

Gunlock admits a series of events put him into a rut.

"It was critical that I have a sense of self-worth. It was critical that beyond just surviving that I identify with the inherent gifts that I have, that every human has.”

Hull was able to see those gifts. Now, he leads RBC Wealth Management's veterans initiative out of their Frederick office and is tasked with educating employees about the issues veterans face.

Hull motivates the companies to help veterans get back on their feet with donations. RBC also works alongside the Montgomery County Coalition for the homeless.

Through MCC's Safe Haven Program they place veterans using a voucher system. They transition veterans from fully dependent living in a shelter to independent living.

But the apartments are empty, that's where RBC comes in.

“We’ll rent the truck we’ll load everything up and then we’ll purchase all their items. From various different resources. In about two hours we come in and take their house that they got which was empty before we got there and turn it into a home,” said Hull.

MCC and RBC set Gunlock up in his own apartment and Hull took things one step further.

“He’s been through a heck of a lot more than I ever was at his age in certain respects. I did see a guy who looked like he had been kicked while he was falling down several times from not just a physical but from a psychological perspective,” said Hull.

Taking his fellow ranger under his wing in an internship, and now a career. Gunlock is now in training to be a financial advisor, and Hull doesn't take it easy on him.

 “Let’s keep on going to the point you’re a little uncomfortable and let you get used to that. I’m going to push you a little bit past that at a rate where I can see that I’m adjusting it to what he can do and I think he’s surprising himself.”

The goal? To get Gunlock certified as a financial advisor in 6 months. An obtainable goal Gunlock thinks about when he gets out of bed each morning. Something much different from a year and a half ago when he was sleeping in his car.

“Even though you may be surrounded by horrible memories or difficult times and adversity. Whether it be from overseas or right now in your life don’t stop,” said Hull. "I’d like to see Will being able to write his own ticket and kind of go wherever he wants to go when he wants to go. Be able to have his son by his side whenever he wants to do those things.”

Gunlock looks forward to showing veterans walking in his old shoes how he changed his course.

“For veterans those are a special group of persons that need understanding and it takes time and it takes effort and compassion for those men and women who’ve been through incredible adversity to have a transformative process,” said Gunlock.

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