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Grant Money For Accident Disabled Army Vet To Live Better And Start Business

by Mark Finn
(Red Creek, NY, USA)

My name is Mark. I am 52 years old. My wife Linda and three beautiful children make up my household.

I dropped out of high school and joined the US Army. While in the Army I was involved in an accident and then released from service a few months later.

I live in a quiet location of Wayne County New York and truly hope to be able to stay and make the best of what this community has to offer as well as be productive members of it.

We have a couple of acres of land, a farmette if you will. We hope to be able to use it for generations to come by: (a) implementing sustainable gardening and homesteading techniques and (b) applying other cost-effective measures to make the property as efficient as possible.

Disability Issues

My disability began many years ago. I have struggled with maintaining myself for so long day by day that only recently have I had the ability to look back at its origin.

In the spring of 1979 I was in a motorcycle accident while stationed at Ft Hood, Texas. After the accident I began using illicit drugs and alcohol heavily.

In the summer of 1979, the Army gave me a general discharge under honorable conditions.

I did not know it then but something had happened at the time of that accident which changed my life completely.

It led to a diagnosis by the VA as being bipolar or schizoaffective. I am not sure which one it is as I see both of them used from time to time.

I was not diagnosed until 1990 when I was hospitalized at Hutchings Psychiatric in Syracuse, NY. I had been hospitalized under observation in 1983 in Waco, Texas at St. Luke's hospital but I'm not sure what the diagnosis was at the time.

I have been on and off many medications for the condition since 1990.

I have emotional issues as well as memory loss. This makes it very hard to get a job and stay employed.

My symptoms have evolved somewhat slowly since 1979. Symptoms would come and go from 1979 until 1990.

In 1990 I had no choice but to admit that I was having behavioral health problems. Since 1990 I have seen few really productive years.

The symptoms would seem to flair up at times that I was experiencing changing situations.

For example, when I would do something that would be very enjoyable, like planning to get married, I would experience a lot of symptomatic problems.

This has made it hard for me to stay in a meaningful relationship.

I am currently complying with my doctor's prescription and again my life has leveled out and I am once again hoping for a brighter tomorrow.

Financial Hardship

I currently receive SSD benefits of $922 per month with a small additional supplement for each of my three children.

My wife has been caring for our young family and homeschools them so I have been the sole breadwinner. Things are real tight all of the time.

I currently drive a vehicle that I use to hunt for work and do scrap metal and other odd jobs with.

A good friend has allowed me to use the vehicle, still titled in his name as long as I keep it insured, which I have been able to do for the past seven months.

I make small payments to my friend in hopes that I one day will have the title transferred over into my name.

I have been forced by lack of capital to do the best I can with a family vehicle. My wife drives an older van, which we paid less than $1000 for.

The van always has maintenance expenses but it's all we have.

We own a home, though it's currently in the foreclosure process. Since 2008 we have not been able to make payments. We even left the comfort of the home to spend some time in another place.

Then we decided that since the mortgage company has not foreclosed on it yet, I was going to take care of the upkeep on it so it did not get vandalized or deteriorate. So we moved back into the home in 2012.

Since moving back into the home in Red Creek I have had to change the water systems around by adding a storage system to collect rainwater.

Both wells went dry and the deep well system pump burned out.

Since then we were donated a submersible pump which I installed and can now draw water from one of the wells.

My meds are provided through the VA health care system.

Income Efforts

I applied for and received SSDI back in 1997.

For a while I was able to work and I stopped receiving benefits. I had to restart the benefits within 36 months and have been receiving the benefits ever since.

I have worked for employers for short terms, usually leaving the jobs when symptoms flared up and I started missing work.

We have used local church food pantries and clothing closets as resources for years and are thankful for their existence.

I have always tried to supplement the SSDI benefits by doing handyman work. For the past few years I have successfully secured at least $3000 per year in part-time income but that has not helped us out of financial troubles very much.

Work-at-home ventures have always been appealing to us and I am currently working on a business plan for one that the family will run.

Specific Needs

I seek help in a couple of areas.

I would first like help securing a service-connected disability status from the Army.

I would also appreciate help in securing a grant or low interest loan(s) to help us build a business but first and foremost; refinance the mortgage we are currently struggling with so that we can keep our home.

Business Idea

I want very much to start a Farm Stand/Store on our property. In the store I plan to sell a variety of fresh produce, country gifts and crafts with homemade sewing and knitting items.

If there seems to be an interest from the community, my wife may implement an affordable clothing section in the store also.

I also want to provide a small engine repair service with the extended plan of being able to buy and sell homestead gardening equipment. With homesteading and a simpler, more cost-effective lifestyle in mind, I plan to sell, install and service green energy products.

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