Combat Wounded Army Veteran Survives Explosion But Struggles With Aftermath
by C. Thomas Fogger
(Sugar Hill, GA, USA)
I'm a combat-wounded Army veteran and Bronze Star, and Purple Heart recipient. I was medically retired in September 2008 due to the injuries I received in combat during my tour in Iraq.
Unfortunately, my last year outside of the military has been one of the toughest of my life. I have been through three separate jobs. I'm three payments behind on my mortgage. I'm barely making ends meet.
I was in the Army for eight years. I joined to serve something greater than myself, or a corporation's bottom line. The Army was supposed to be my career. Do my 30 years and then ride off into the sunset with my wife.
Unfortunately, simultaneous roadside bomb explosions against my vehicle in Iraq ended that dream.
Instead, I am left with a 60% disabled retirement rating from the Army, frontal lobe brain damage, multi-tasking skills problems, short-term memory loss, severe depression, and debilitating migraine headaches.
The VA has taken over a year to process my claim and I'm still waiting on it. Three jobs later I find it's hard to work because of the 1-2 doctor's appointments I have to go to each week, as well as the occasional (4 times a month) migraines I have.
Employers don't like to hear you need time off, especially when you haven't been at a company long enough to even earn any time off.
I have been married for 14 years. My wife and I have six children: 13-year-old son, 10-year-old son, 9-year-old daughter, 5-year-old son, and 3-year-old boy/girl twins.
My family was with me prior to the Army, during my time in the Army, and now that I'm out of the Army, my family is my primary motivation.
My wife stays at home with our children, which makes me the primary income earner in the family.
It's difficult to come home and look at the house you had hoped to finally settle down into and make dreams become reality.
It hurts when you know your home is about to be foreclosed on. The worst part is that you know it's through no fault of your own!
I have gone around and around and come to the conclusion that is was far easier to have gone through the explosion in Iraq than go through the nightmare I've experienced this past year.
The sad part is that if the explosion had killed me, then my family would have at least received the death benefits and payments that go with that.
They would have been able to provide for themselves instead of having a shell of a Dad that struggles just to put food on the table!
It's a very difficult situation to be in, going from gung-ho soldier to struggling just to make it day-to-day.
Any assistance at this point would be helpful. I really don't know where else to turn. I have exhausted all of our credit, I've borrowed money from family, and we are still struggling.
The struggle stems from the constant time off required for appointments. I take 11 pills a day to function. Without them I cannot even bring home the little bit of money I do now.
Thank you again for your help and support.