In 2010, Operation Homefront-Florida (OHFL) fielded over 500 requests for emergency assistance. Each case was unique and many were resolved with one of the various tools in the OHFL tool box. But in early December, OHFL had the opportunity to help a military family by using nearly all of the tools at one time. Together, OHFL board members, staff, volunteers and community supporters came together to help a South Florida wounded warrior and his wife in need of emergency assistance.
This young wounded warrior served 6 years as an infantryman in the Army and received a purple heart for an injury during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in 2008. Due to the complications of his injury, he was medically retired from the Army and faced the reality of civilian life with a very serious disability. He attempted to go to college and learn a new trade in order to make a living, but repeated hospital stays and the severity of his injury made completion impossible and saddled the young family with education debt. To make matters worse, the prospect of additional help through VA disability compensation seemed unattainable as a resolution to his claim was at least one year away. This wounded warrior was clinically diagnosed as unable to work or attend school and he and his wife were in a position where they were drowning financially.
After coming to OHFL for assistance, our case manager was able to review their finances and link them up with an attorney, who donated her time to help with credit issues. In addition, an OHFL board member helped expedite the disability compensation process and start the process to negotiate the forgiveness of education debt. After a careful look at the family’s expenses, OHFL determined the family was paying a good portion of their limited income on 2 storage units. To solve this problem, OHFL helped negotiate them out of their old storage unit contract and moved them into a new unit, paid for by OHFL. As a part of “Operation Assist our Wounded Warriors,” 6 Volunteers from the local Miami-Dade police department joined 2 OHFL board members to pack, load and move the family’s belongings from the old storage units to the new one. Finally, Operation Homefront-Florida was able to provide the family with food cards to help offset their current expenses and get them on their feet again.
Through a true team effort, Operation Homefront-Florida helped this young military family through a difficult period. Although they will undoubtedly face many challenges in the months and years ahead, during their time of crisis OHFL had the team of supporters ready to assist a family that sacrificed and served our country.
Here is a note we received from the family.
“We wanted to thank each person who has helped us through our tough moments. Thank you for all your great efforts. You are all very special people. Thank you to Operation Homefront, Betty, and our local Police Department.”