Scott Clapper knows a thing or two about hard work.
A resident of Green Doors for nearly four years, Scott worked for more than 30 years in factories. He made shoes, garments, computer components, you name it. As he put it, he punched a clock. But he was never late and he never complained. When one of his factory jobs was cut, he moved from place to place and held various jobs, from property manager to auto body repair worker. He even ran a marina.
But he also knows a thing or two about bad luck.
A few years ago, he started to lose weight and got worried. And after a long series of tests and back and forth trips to different VA hospitals, he learned he had a liver disease that would leave him unable to work.
“I never made a lot of money. Usually minimum wage. But I always worked,” he said. “I worked my whole life, and then it was all gone. I went from one side of the coin to the other, and I never saw it coming.”
He lived with relatives and friends for a while, but soon ended up homeless with few medical options and no idea where he’d end up. Fortunately, he ended up in Texas.
A spot opened up at Temple’s VA center, and Scott borrowed $200 from a relative to get there — where he got treatment and lived for 3 years before coming to Green Doors.
And it was something that started in Temple that has transformed Scott and brought new value to his life.
“I got involved in arts and crafts therapy. It was a small way to give back and be productive, but I found that I really had an eye for making things. And people really liked what I did. It was one of the first times I did something unique.”
Most of Scott’s art is found objects — glass, bottle caps, rocks. They fill his apartment at Green Doors, and every piece has a story. He says “I just see ordinary things differently than most people. I want to make them beautiful. Valuable.”
And for the first time in a long time, that’s how his art made him feel with his own family. A few months ago, Green Doors featured Scott and his art on our blog. It was a simple story, but it helped his children…and now grandchildren…see him in a very different way.
“My family sees that I’m back on my feet. They see I’m working at something. They are proud of me, which is new for me to experience,” he said. “My daughter printed out copies and handed it out to people. A cool story about her dad.”