Examples of Cases of Financial Assistance
Listed below are some of the cases for which Operation Military Embrace, Inc. has provided financial assistance for our wounded military:
A soldier who was severely burned, and endured amputations and internal wounds: OME paid to have his Dad's car transported from North Carolina so that the family could get around San Antonio and so that the Dad would not have to fly home, drive the car back to BAMC, and then have to be gone for 2 or 3 days; OME also paid to get them a rental car until the family car arrived.
A wounded soldier from Florida who has had so many grafting surgeries to his hands that he got the nickname "Patches”: he cannot do much for himself, so the Dad (who had the more flexible schedule) took off so much time from work to care for the soldier that the Dad lost his job. Then the family (who had 2 younger sons) could not make ends meet, plus the fact that even though they usually got an organization to donate frequent flier miles, right before the Dad lost his job they had to pay $1,400 for the flight back to Florida from Walter Reed Army Hospital because they missed their intended flight. Then, even after the Dad finally got another job, they could not meet all of their rent, electric bill and phone bills. Also this family is a perfect example of collateral damage when a loved one is injured: during the stress of caring for the soldier, one of the younger sons ran away from home, came home, and then decided to drop out of high school to help care for his older brother since the parents could no longer afford to take off work. OME gave this family a financial grant to assist them with paying their bills.
A wounded soldier: Severe Financial Loss related to injury incurred while in Iraq. He is left disabled because of an IED blast in 2003. He is medically retired, and his income went from 6400.00 on Active Duty to 1701.00 at 50% on TDRL (Temporary Disabled Retirement) and now that has even fallen to 30% on Permanent Disability Retired so now it is 1,065.00. He has 5 children at home and requested financial assistance to better care for them. His wife is unable to work due to his required assistance with most of his daily living. He is under Physicians orders not to seek employment or drive a motor vehicle related to the irreversible damage done to his right ear and equilibrium, vertigo, etc. He has had surgery to try to correct this problem but doctors were unsuccessful. He has a tear in his right rotator cuff, TBI, PTSD, bad hips, bad knees, bad back. He takes Meclizine for his dizziness. His wife has to drive him to and from their home to the VA Hospital at least 2 to 3 times a week. The drive is approx. 3.5 hrs. one way. His home is in foreclosure. OME provided this family with a grant of financial assistance to help with paying bills and making his house payment.
A wounded Air Force Captain and here is his story: “November 2003, Iraq I was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident avoiding an ambush while serving as an intelligence officer. I was later medically evacuated to Landstuhl, Germany, for treatment for a spinal injury which caused the numbness, tingling, and sciatica I was experiencing. My legs would shake and continue to shake throughout the night, not allowing me to sleep and often requiring me to sleep in another bed so my wife can sleep. When I returned to the US, my wife was diagnosed with stage three lymphoma cancer requiring over six months of chemotherapy. My treatment suffered due to caring for her, but she did "beat" the cancer and is currently in successful remission. In August, 2006, I was medically retired with an honorable discharge and since then my condition has worsened. I was diagnosed with severe PTSD and a traumatic brain injury from the accident and being close to blasts. My frequent treatment does not allow me to work and my poor concentration and memory prevent me from having a job until the condition improves. I was tested with an MRI and cognitive tests which show that the brain injury is impairing my ability to focus, concentrate and remember. In addition, my PTSD symptoms continue and worsen at times. I continue treatment, but this is extremely time consuming. I am hopeful that I will be working shortly, but need assistance until my treatment stabilizes. My wife and I also have a newborn son.” OME gave this wounded hero and his family a financial grant to assist with paying their bills.
A wounded soldier: he was injured in Iraq in 2007 and suffered hip, pelvis, and lower back fractures and a shattered femur (thigh bone): He got an infection in his leg and the rod that was placed there had to be removed. His wife has been caring for him so she is unable to work. She administers antibiotics and does suture care, dressing, bathes him, etc. He uses a wheelchair and crutches and is unable to dress himself. He also is unable to stay at the hospital because his infections are so bad that, according to doctors, being exposed at the hospital could make him sicker and he could possibly infect others. He has now been diagnosed with a medical disorder that will follow him for the rest of his life. The commute to the hospital is 1.5 hours each way, 2 times a week. The family has 3 children. As his wife stated, “By January, 2008, the pain was so bad that he was brought to tears. More surgery indicated that he had become re-infected and is now back in the wheel chair and unable to bear any weight. His next surgery in March is to wash out his leg, bone and have a tissue biopsy. This will determine if doctors can save his leg. We had to pay out-of-pocket expenses for air fares, travel and care for their children.” OME gave this family a financial grant to assist them with these out-of-pocket expenses.
A wounded female soldier who is a single Mom: She was injured in Iraq (lost her left leg below the knee) due to two 107 mm rockets hitting Camp Liberty in Baghdad. She has 3 children (2 of them have health problems) and her twin sister took 6 weeks leave without pay to care for the injured soldier and her children (the sister also has 3 children). OME gave this wounded soldier a financial grant to help defray the cost of insurance co-pays, prescriptions, etc. for her children as well as to assist her sister with her mounting daily bills due to her not receiving a pay check for that 6 weeks. This is what we refer to as “collateral damage.”
A severely burned Marine: Because of the continual care that he requires by his parents, both parents have lost their jobs and the family is living off of the pay of a Corporal in the Marine Corps and who is also taking care of the financial needs of his younger sister who is still in high school. OME gave them a financial grant to assist with their daily living expenses.
Small Christmas grants for three wounded Marines who each have a wife and children and are living on the pay of a corporal (~$21,000 per year).
A severely burned soldier: His Bradley tank was hit by an IED and exploded, catching this soldier and all his buddies on fire. His Dad flew in to visit him from Iowa so he needed financial assistance for a rental car, wheelchair rental and tickets to the San Antonio Zoo to take his son on an outing to lift his spirits. OME gave this family that requested financial assistance.
A Marine who was burned on his face, his foot was shattered and he has a wife and 2 kids: OME gave him financial assistance to help defray the costs of repairing his very old second vehicle so that his wife could have a reliable vehicle to use for the family.
A soldier who lost both legs and his right arm above the elbow and who has a wife and 4 kids: Because he requires continuous care, his wife had to quit her job to care for him, and their only source of income is his disability pay. OME provided them with a grant of financial assistance.
A wounded soldier with multiple back & neck injuries: He wanted to attend the funeral of his buddy (another soldier who had a wife and 2 kids) who was killed in Iraq, but this wounded soldier did not have the money for the plane ticket. OME provided him with enough financial assistance to cover his plane ticket, rental car, and 2 night’s motel stay.
The single Mom of a soldier who lost both legs, is paralyzed from the waist down, and also lost partial use of one arm and 3 fingers: This Mom left her job 9 months ago to care for her son, and needed financial assistance just to pay for basic necessities such as car payment, house payment, etc.
The wife of a wounded soldier who had to quit her job because her husband was in such severe pain from a neck and back injuries that she had to care for him full time, and also because their oldest son (they have 3 children) was diagnosed with psychological problems.
A Marine who sustained injuries while in Fallujah, Iraq. His squad was heavily ambushed and he lost half of his men while trying to retrieve the body of one of his fallen Marines. He was hit with multiple enemy grenades and RPG's (rocket-propelled grenades). He now has TBI, PTSD, severe knee and back pain. He now also has short-term memory difficulty, frequently loses things, sleeps poorly (frequently awakened by nightmares), visual dysfunction, headaches, and his hearing is muffled. He was put on medical leave from his job and is currently undergoing treatment at the VA Center. He has to drive 2.5 hrs. per day for 5 days a week to be able to receive treatment and between his being unable to work and also having to commute back and forth it is putting a huge financial strain on him and his family. He is married and has 3 children, ages 8, 3, and 7 months.
A soldier who was stationed in Iraq in 2006 and exposed to multiple blasts from IED's, RPG's, and mortar exposures at close range. Doctors feel that is what caused his PTSD and cognitive deficits such as severe problems with focus, concentration, memory and attention span. They also feel that his knee pain is due to his having to carry over 100 pounds of ammunition and other equipment over long periods of time. He has episodes of dizziness that occur almost daily, along with flashbacks, hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). In addition, he was in a motorcycle accident while on leave in March, 2007, sustaining fractured ribs, and fractures to L2 & L3 of his lumbar spine. He was medically discharged from the Army in May, 2008, and he is currently receiving treatment at VA Center for cognitive and functional deficits related to Post-Concussive Syndrome, PTSD, and chronic back pain. Since his VA claim is still in progress, he has not had any income since leaving the Army in May, 2008. He currently has no health insurance and cannot hold down a job at this point due to his PTSD and his cognitive deficits (his case worker states that his attention span deficit is severe). Doctors state that "...it is unlikely that this soldier will be able to work for the next 6-12 months."
While deployed to Iraq and while conducting Convoy Security Missions, this soldier was exposed during the period of April, 2004, to September, 2004, to IED's and mortar attacks. At times, he was also the gunner on a Humvee vehicle, during which time the IED blasts would cause his head to be thrown against the Humvee. These blasts and trauma to his head would cause him to become dizzy and confused. He has been diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD, and Major Depresssion. According to his case worker, he is "un-employable due to his difficulty with concentration and following instructions, memory loss, panic attacks, difficulty making decisions, anger outbursts, intense anxiety, and difficulty following orders of superiors and getting along with his co-workers.” He is currently awaiting his VA rating. He has a wife and 2 children, and his wife is his caregiver. His only other source of assistance at this time is $200/month that he is receiving from another military-support organization. He is probably getting a partial paycheck from the government (an E-4 Specialist makes $21,000 per year) until he gets his VA benefits. OME provided him with financial assistance.
While deployed to Iraq, this Army captain (West Point graduate) was exposed to ongoing explosions, was injured while in Iraq, and suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), MDD (Major Depressive Disorder), and survivor’s guilt (due to his having to make decisions that resulted in many casualties to his unit). These have caused him to have panic attacks, profound depression, nightmares, difficulty concentrating, night sweats, intense fear resulting in his having to sleep with the lights on, difficulty concentrating, etc. He was medically discharged from the Army recently. He lost his job due to his “snapping” at an employee, and has been without work for over a month now, has no family support, and was basically homeless because he is having to live out of his car. He has not yet been rated by the VA. OME provided him with financial assistance to help get him back on his feet again while he is looking for another job.
The Mom of a severely wounded solider wanted to be with her son for his latest surgery. This soldier was injured in 2006 and was burned over 86% of his body (everything except his face was burned). He needed to have his hand amputated, so his Mom needed to care for her son’s children while her daughter-in-law cared for her son. OME provided this Mom with the financial assistance to pay for her plane ticket.
Airline tickets were purchased for five (5) seriously injured Marines to visit their more seriously injured Corpsman in New Jersey for a Christmas 2009 reunion. Six (6) members of this particular squad were blown up in one major incident in Iraq with each member going through various levels of physical rehabilitation, the most serious being their Navy Corpsman. Such reunions are extremely healing and OME was honored to be the organization that made this important reunion possible.
Senior Army Leadership brought to OME for consideration the case of a Soldier with a wife and four children who was terribly injured and had significant financial needs. OME was privileged to be the organization to which Army leadership turned to ask for help for this patriotic family. OME had a quorum of Officers and Directors present at San Antonio Military Medical Center in December when the case was presented to OME and OME approved the Grant and wrote a significant check on the spot for financial assistance and gave it to the Senior Army Leadership for presentation to the recovering Soldier and his family. This Grant made a very difficult Christmas more tolerable for this Army family that is enduring so much suffering due to service to America.
Senior Army Leadership presented a second case of severe financial need to the Officers and Directors of OME while we were at SAMMC in December and a second significant Grant was approved and a check written on location for a Soldier injured in Iraq who has five (5) children and who was, like the foregoing Soldier, in dire need of financial assistance.
An Army Airborne Reservist who served 4 tours in Iraq and then 1 tour as a civilian contractor, was diagnosed with cancer. Since he was unable to continue his job as a contractor, his contract ended and he was left without income. OME provided financial assistance for him and his young son.
A severely injured soldier, after being flown to San Antonio Military Medical Center, discovered that his wife had left him and cleaned out his entire bank account. OME provided him with financial assistance to help him pay his bills until his next paycheck hit his bank account.
A severely injured soldier, and here is his story: “In April, 2008, I was evacuated out of Iraq. I was crushed on my left leg and as of 20 September, I have had over 70 surgeries on my left leg. Infections have taken a lot of my left leg, and now I have to use a prosthetic brace. I will be getting an amputation below the knee between now and January - I just have to let the doctor know when I want it done. With all of the pain and surgeries, my wife has decided to leave me, and moved away. We agreed at this time that my 5-year-old son would go with her. So, I sit and wait alone for my leg to be taken. I live in a 2-story house with nothing in it because of her leaving and the fact that my son needed the things more than I did. If you can help with this grant, that would be great. I need extra money just to get some things for the house and to make some modifications to the house when I get my leg amputated."
A homeless injured soldier with a brain tumor who suffers constant seizures: In February, 2011, OME provided financial assistance to this soldier for groceries and for temporary living quarters until her advocate could find her a suitable permanent home.
OME provided financial support to an Army PFC (injured in Iraq) and his family in July 2009. That family is struggling financially with the soldier’s being rated as unemployable and 100% disabled by the VA. He and his wife receive a small monthly disability stipend of $936/month from the VA. The wife has just recently completed her Associates Degree and is continuing with her education to better position her to be the family's bread winner. She was employed until recently and her job was eliminated the same day she received her Associate's Degree. This military family is struggling and needed financial assistance from OME, which we certainly provided. This family is still within our 4-year window of eligibility from the time this soldier was medically retired in 2009.
A severely wounded soldier who had been burned over 86% of his body, and lost both hands, needed financial assistance to pay his rent. He retired from the Army in August, 2011, but he did not receive his VA disability payments as soon as he retired, like he had planned. This is the third soldier that OME has helped for this reason! It typically takes 3-6 months before our wounded receive their VA disability payments after medically retiring from the military.
A female National Guard soldier who had a liver transplant at SAMMC. She had no income (since being released from the National Guard) and a young daughter. The National Guard re-instated her and the related pay schedule but OME paid her rent, utilities and car note and she was able to carry forward with the reinstatement of her National Guard paycheck. She moved in with her sister to reduce her rent cost.
OME has provided additional financial assistance to an injured Soldier with a new baby girl as this young family is in San Antonio with the soldier going through a long, painful recovery and his wife struggles to care for their newborn daughter and her injured husband at the same time.
A young former Soldier has encountered some difficulties in the Texas Criminal Justice System and has had his honorable service used against him by some oppressive county prosecutors and OME has stepped forward and provided financial assistance to help this good Soldier in his time of need. This fine young man is receiving counseling and support network help from the PTSD Foundation of America, a Partner organization to OME.
A 20-year Navy veteran who had deployed to Iraq. After retiring from the Navy, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer on January 30, 2013. He has had to have his bladder, prostate, and urethra removed. He currently is unable to work, and his wife was recently laid off from her job. They must drive 3 hours away for his doctor’s appointments at least once per week. As it is with so many other wounded veterans, the VA has temporarily discontinued his disability payments while they are currently “reviewing his case” and now they are left with absolutely NO income. OME provided financial assistance many times by paying all of his bills directly, plus giving him a small amount for groceries and gas.