Former SF drug addict now helps homeless veterans get back on their feet

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON)  — “At first it was really weird, really uncomfortable being out here. Now it feels like this is where I am supposed to be.”

Thomas Wolf walks the same streets in the Tenderloin where a year ago he was a homeless heroin addict.

“I don’t ever want to go back to that life again but at the same time this community needs help,” Wolf said.

Wolf’s mugshot was tweeted out by San Francisco Police last June, warning residents that he had been arrested repeatedly for drug possession and violating his stay away order.

Eight months later Wolf responded to that tweet, thanking the Salvation Army for helping him get sober and thanking the officer who arrested him the most.

Back in March, KRON4 told you about him reuniting with Officer Gilson — who he credits for helping him get back on his feet and saving his life.

Now the man who lost his old job as a social worker because of his drug habit is now 10 months clean and sober and has a job right around the corner from the Tenderloin police station.

He’s now working as a case worker and life skills coordinator at the Salvation Army’s railton place helping homeless veterans get into transitional housing.

“So I just try to help them whatever way I can with the tools that I picked up from recovery to show them the right path,” Wolf said.

Wolf said it was surreal coming to work in a neighborhood where he comes face to face with people locked in the same struggle of addiction he is so familiar with.

“This community needs help so to be able to come back to this community and give back a little bit in my small way it’s definitely something that I want to do,” he said.

Wolf is back in his two children’s lives and working on reconciling with his wife.

Officer Gilson says he’s happy to hear about his former arrestee’s progress but thinks he’s been given too much credit for the part he played.

Gilson says he was just doing what cops all over the city do every day — helping people in the communities they care about.

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