Northeast Ohio Air Force veteran awarded for work helping other vets in recovery

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – “I was the guy with the ankle monitor on.”

U.S. Air Force veteran Alexander Amstutz knows the struggle of returning to civilian life in Northeast Ohio after deployment.

He served in Afghanistan in 2009. When he came home, he was arrested for drug possession for opioids he used to sleep and at one point attempted suicide.

Amstutz says he was connected to the Mansfield VA Outpatient Clinic and later the VA facility in Brecksville through the Veteran Treatment Court.

After receiving addition and mental health treatment, he became a Peer Support Specialist.

He started volunteering in 2011.

Now, helps other veterans transitioning back to civilian life or who are struggling at the Youngstown VA Outpatient Clinic.

He got an official position there in 2015.

Thursday, he was awarded the Department of Veterans Affairs National Peer Support Specialist of the year award in a virtual ceremony.

He was selected out of nearly 1,200 people across the U.S.

“It continues to humble me every single day,” Amstutz said during a speech after he accepted his award.

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