We met the family of a Marine through a caregiver who was already enrolled in our Wounded Veteran Family Care Program. The family (including 4 children under the age of 11) was facing a dire financial situation. The veteran, like many others, had left active duty service without realizing the toll his combat experiences had taken. As such, he had not enrolled with the VA Health Administration, nor been evaluated for any service-connected issues. Eight years later, he experienced a total breakdown at work and wound up at the local VA Medical Center. He entered into an extensive treatment program for PTSD/TBI which made it impossible for him to work and required his wife to dramatically decrease her work schedule so she could care for him.
This sudden drop in income resulted in the family being unable to pay their monthly bills until their VA claim for Disability Compensation and application for the VA Caregiver Stipend were processed. We were able to extend emergency financial assistance through our Unmet Needs Fund to meet a month’s worth of rent, car, and utility payments for a month.
To further complicate matters, the caregiver then had an accident which required emergency surgery – leaving her unable to work at all as well as needing help with household tasks for four weeks. We reached out to the family’s church, Trinity Lutheran Church, to let them know what was going on and ask for help. The church membership responded by providing meals and house cleaning while the caregiver healed. Soon after she returned to work, the car broke down – another financial blow. We again reached out to the local community, this time to a local car repair shop, Drave’s Auto Center. Drave’s immediately offered to provide free labor in appreciation for the veteran’s service to country. The Semper Fi Fund covered the cost for parts.
While awaiting receipt of the first VA Disability Compensation and VA Caregiver Stipend payments, the family needed a little more financial assistance; we worked with the veteran’s OEF/OIF/OND VA Case Manager to apply for help from The Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund. They came through for this wonderful family and covered another month of bills.
We are happy to report that this family – veteran, caregiver, and children – are out of hardship and well on their way to a better place – all thanks to a grateful nation willing to give back to those who serve.