Military Veteran Overcomes Drugs, Depression, Suicide, Divorce, PTSD after 30 Years Starts “Hope After Project”
Caring for severely wounded soldiers almost took the life of Medical Specialist Robert M. Gilmore while stationed at Clark AFB in the Philippines in 1971. Impacted by the deaths of young critically injured soldiers and the horrific injuries that no one can prepare you for in technical school training.
A 19 year old Air Force Medic, with dreams of seeing the world, maybe a military career and being of service to his country. He was seven thousand miles from home, while his mother suffered from a bipolar disorder in Houston, Texas and had to be sent to the Rusk State Mental Hospital.
One night, Airman Gilmore tried to save the life of a fellow soldier, which got him busted and tested positive for substance abuse and possibly a dishonorable discharge. All of his family and military problems lead him into a deep depression and two attempts to commit suicide while stationed at Clark AFB in Philippines Island.
One final call home to tell his mother that he loved and missed her from the Philippines led to her anguish that something was wrong and she, in turn, called on his two grandmothers (Other Momma and BoBo), both veteran soldiers of prayer and fasting battles.
The United States Air Force Medical leaders intervened, sent him home with a chance to recover from drug abuse and finish his military service with honor. Grateful for the second chance, he completed the Air Force Drug Rehabilitation Program in 1974 and received an Honorable Discharge in 1975. Grateful to the US Military, he took full advantage of the GI Bill and the Texas Hazelwood Educational benefits.
In spite of finding out about his PTSD condition and problems which led to a divorce, he continued to fight and focused on beating the odds. Vietnam-Era Veteran Gilmore went on to accomplish tremendously by earning 1 Bachelors and 2 Masters degrees from Texas Southern University, a Doctorate from the University of Houston and a Master of Divinity from the Houston Graduate School of Theology. In addition, he obtained the National Certified Counselor certificate and is licensed by the State of Texas as a LPC and LCDC counselor.
Recruited by Former First Lady Nancy Reagan in 1986 to help in saving our American youth from drugs, he has worked tirelessly in National, State and local efforts to fight the war at Home. In 1989 he wrote a dynamic inspirational book, “Hope After Dope: From A Drug Addict to A Doctor”, after being rejected over ten times, because the companies felt that the topic was not relevant to the audience. He self-published, traveled across the country to National Minister Conventions, warning leaders to get ready for what became the “Crack” epidemic. He organized and lead protests against movies such as “New Jack City”, which glamorized drug culture and abuse.
Gilmore states,” It became my duty, once I understood that there would be others impacted by the evil of drug abuse, families destroyed, lives ruined forever. I was terminated from good jobs, because of my outspokenness and many thought I should just enjoy the success of all my academic achievements. Ms. Reagan called for volunteers to help in our American cities. That was my re-enlistment to be of service for my country. I will always be grateful to the United States Military and the second chance I was given.”
Now the Vietnam-Era Veteran, the Rev. Dr. Robert McKinley Gilmore, Sr. is leading the charge with the kick-off of the “Hope After Project”, a year long effort to train and recruit over 5,000 volunteers involving over 1,000 churches, community leaders and organizations in helping with substance abuse, mental health, educational, economic and faith-based focused projects. This in recognition to his father in the ministry, the Rev. Dr. Johnny Hobbs, who licensed him to Preach 30 years ago in August 1978.
Gilmore has influenced thousands through broadcasting, preaching, teaching for over 30 years, and being involved in State, County and Local leadership. He is considered one of the leading community leaders in the Gulf Coast Region, and across the State of Texas. Happily remarried to Professor Jacqueline K. Davis-Gilmore, they both enjoy teaching, being of service and trying to help where needed in the community.
In addition, the Rev. Dr. Gilmore, wants to republish “Hope After Dope” to make it available to current military service men and women. Also, he wants to visit bases or cities during the multi-year “Hope After Project” to tell his story and maybe inspire the young troops who might be impacted by the reality of War. Recognized by First Lady Nancy Reagan, Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush, he looks forward to working on behalf of President Barack H. Obama. Now with two grown sons and two grandsons, Gilmore states that,” When I leave the battlefield for the last time, I want to be remembered for being a good servant soldier”.