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Aurora Health Care

Veteran's struggles hurts entire family



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April 15, 2014 | 03:45 PM
Dear W.C.,

My wife and I are having a hard time right now.

I have been a paraplegic since my service in the Gulf War. My wife works full time.

Recently she missed work for a month due to needing surgery. There were a few complications so she had to take off longer than expected. She used up all her sick and vacation days and still missed a few weeks pay. I have an older handicap accessible van I use for doctors appointments and grocery shopping. It recently broke down. We are behind in our rent and utilities.

We do not want to lose this rental since we have rented this home for the past five years. It is very reasonable and the landlord allowed us to make some changes to the home so it is accessible for my wheelchair. If we are asking for too much I apologize. If you could just help us with the van repairs we would be most grateful for that.

Disabled vet

Dear readers,

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We have helped many disabled veterans over the years.

Their struggle to survive while dealing with overwhelming injuries and disabilities sustained during their service to our country fills my heart with sadness. Many do not receive enough assistance to care for themselves independently.

They make it month to month with barely just enough to get by. If there is any extra expense, such as car repairs or home repairs, they do not have enough funds to pay their rent, utilities or food. After reading this veteran’s letter I called to see when I could make a visit.

The man and his wife invited me right over. I could hear the wife in the background asking, “Is that really The Time Is Now to Help calling?” I told the man and his wife that I would be over that evening.

I drove to the address provided by the man. It was a very small, old cottage. I saw a handicap ramp built up the side of the house. There was an older high top van that sat lop sided in the driveway due to a flat tire and an older car. As I was looking at the vehicles a man came out the door in a wheelchair and down the ramp.

He introduced himself to me as the writer of the request for assistance. After our introductions he pulled out his keys and showed me his handicap accessible van. It was fully equipped for his needs with a lift and hand controls. It was older but still had some serviceable miles left. He showed me what was needed for the repair. I noticed he had good knowledge as a mechanic.

He said he had been a mechanic before his deployment but was not able to do that kind of work now, pointing to his legs saying, “Ever since the Gulf War these are useless to me now.” I looked over both the vehicles and took notes of what was needed.

I asked where we could go to talk and he led the way inside. As we went inside the man explained his wife and a friend had built the ramp five years ago with money they had gotten from a home improvement grant for veterans. He maneuvered his way inside the door and held it open for me. His wife was there to meet me and we all moved to the kitchen table to talk.

As we spoke I could see there were more needs they had not shared in the letter. The husband had served in the military during Desert Storm and suffered some of the effects of Gulf War Syndrome. They both told me about the multiple miscarriages the wife had suffered and how she had other debilitating illnesses that began soon after his return home.

They both believed these were linked to the many toxins and vaccines the husband had been exposed to during the war.

The wife said, “I was never able to carry a baby to full term. After seeing the birth defects other military couple’s children were born with after the Gulf War we decided to stop trying.” I could see the hurt and tears in both their eyes over the inability to have children and their devastating life changes after the exposures during the Gulf War. They seemed to really need someone to talk to in addition to financial help.

The wife shared how her employer was very understanding of her situation and provided as many sick and vacation days as they could, but the employer could not afford to pay her for any more time off.

He shared with me other medical problems he had suffered for years after his return, some that they denied his claims for.

He told me how he often had to use meditation to control his bouts of extreme pain as medication did not work. He also suffered head aches and chronic fatigue.

We moved on to reviewing their budget. The wife showed me the overdue utility bills. They also were one month behind in their rent. They said they would be farther behind in the rent but had made other sacrifices to try and keep up with their shelter needs.

She told me that meant cutting back on food and other necessities. They both hung their heads and nodded.

Our government should be ashamed for the treatment of our veterans. Should they be fighting years after their service to their country to keep food on their plates and survive their vast medical needs?

We together helped this veteran and his wife.

We brought their utilities up to date and paid some into the future.

We paid their rent to keep them sheltered and safe.

We had repairs done to both their vehicles, including tires and brakes, to ensure safe transportation.

We removed the red tape and stressful application process by going to their door and seeing the need with our own eyes. “We” removed the tears and as much of the pain as we could from their burden.

Months later this couple reports they still share heartfelt gratitude with all of you.

Together we will continue to remove the many pains of poverty including: hunger, loneliness, fear and homelessness. God bless all of you for helping.

Health and Happiness, God Bless Everyone, W.C./Sal

Make checks payable to: The Time Is Now to Help, P.O. Box 1, Lake Geneva, WI 53147. The Time Is Now to Help is a federally recognized 501(c)3 charitable organization licensed in the states of Wisconsin and Illinois. You will receive a tax deductible, itemized thank you receipt showing how your donation provided assistance for the poverty stricken.

Thanks: Paul Ziegler, Ziegler Charitable Foundation, Fox Charities, Dick and Jean Honeyager, The Petco Foundation, Lake Geneva Petco, The Rhoades Foundation, Lake Geneva Lioness Club, GFWC- Womens Club of East Troy, Unitarian Universalist Church, Thrivent Choice Program, ITW Foundation, Martin Business, Beach and Associates, Phyllis Kutz, Stewart and Carol Calkins, F. J. Doolittle, George Rozhon, Beth and Jody Rendall, Louise and Clifford Morris, James and Marilynn Dyer, Gregory Swanson, Alexandrea Goff, Stephen Ahlgren, Tamar Donovan, W.C. Family Resource Center/Food Pantry volunteers, and all the God loving volunteers of all our caring pantries, all of you who support The Time Is Now to Help donation boxes, and the businesses that allow our donation boxes.

Anyone who would like a Time Is Now donation box in your business, please call (262) 249-7000.Memorials: Carla Matz in memory of Harry Bublitz.

Country Fairway Condominium Assoc. in memory of Dave Bush. Furniture

Donations: Please contact Love, Inc. for all your furniture, clothing and household item donations. Call (262) 763-2743 or (262) 763-6226 to schedule pick-up.

W.C. food pantry needs elp: The W.C. Food Pantry is desperately in need of 1,000 sq. ft. + donated storage space in Lake Geneva, Elkhorn or Delavan. An overhead door is necessary. It can be heated or unheated. A loading dock would be a huge plus.

The W.C. Food Pantry is working hard to provide good food along with other items such as pet food, toiletries and other desperately needed daily necessities.

All this requires the space to store these items when donated in large quantities.

Please contact Jim Drescher at (262) 745-6018 if you can help the food pantry.

Please visit: www.timeisnowtohelp.org

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