35 Year Old Disabled Army Veteran Seeks Education Grant For Doctorate
by Reavis Fair
(Glendale, AZ, USA)
My name is Reavis D. Fair. I am a male, 35 year old, honorably discharged 11 year Army veteran.
I was born in Mississippi and raised in the small town of Weir. My grandparents were my caretakers till I reached the age of 16.
I then moved to West Point MS with my mother and stepfather. At the age of 19 the military was my lifesaver because I was on a fast path to destruction.
Ft. Eustis VA was the first of 3 duty stations. It was here that I met my ex-wife and we had our son, Keegan.
Vicenza, Italy was the second of duty stations. By this time the military was going to be my 20-year career because of my rapidly growing love for my country.
After a 3 year stint in Italy, Hawaii was the place where my world came crashing to an early halt. This is where I was stationed on September 11, 2001 and the Iraq war started.
December 18th 2003, the USS Peleliu left the Hawaiian Port where 12 soldiers including myself, set off on a 30 day voyage from Hawaii to Saudi Arabia to meet our later leaving companies.
I was put in charge of this mission. I was always take charge and at high speed. My in-depth knowledge of the military had me on a fast track to get promoted ahead of my peers.
After meeting our units in Saudi Arabia, there was a three-day convoy into Iraq where we were ambushed from day 1 in the country.
Shells, rocket propelled grenades, and small arms fire were upon us at least 15 to 25 times daily.
After 10 months of bloodshed, death, sweat and tears, I was flown from Iraq, on a Medevac to Germany, where I was diagnosed with a torn meniscus.
The military sent me back to Hawaii for surgery. At this point I had survived mishaps in life, being an invading force within a very volatile country, and now surgery.
My military career was supposed to go on and flourish bountifully. I had aspirations of becoming the Army's youngest First Sergeant.
Two months after my return from Iraq my mental state drastically changed.
The military that I once loved and served gave me anxiety attacks, nightmares, suicidal and homicidal ideations, and depression but no help.
Here I ended my career 9 years early. I left my military and went back home to Mississippi.
This only angered me more because I was no longer the same person.
The military gave me 30% disability for my knees. My knees were a problem but not the main problem; my mind was.
I felt like a crippled bum and did not feel that my life was worth living. I could not get or maintain steady employment due to anger, anxiety and just pure hatred.
And all this time I was surviving off $550 a month with a roommate and her two kids.
Social Security Disability approved my disability due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but Mississippi's Veterans Affairs, Sonny Montgomery, in Jackson MS, refused to diagnose me for PTSD.
Life brings changes so moving to Phoenix Arizona was my next stepping-stone.
Here I got enrolled with The Carl T. Hayden V.A. where things are so much more advanced and people actually cared about a person's mental status.
It was here that I received the medication and counseling that I needed.
I am now receiving Social Security Disability for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, 70% from Veterans Affairs for Post Traumatic Stress, 30% for each one of my knees, along with anther 10% for each of my knees, and 40% for traumatic brain injury.
My injuries are not getting better but with the proper medication, my mental state is very stable.
I am now 90% with Veterans Affairs and receiving individual unemployability.
I also have other claims in that the state of Mississippi wrongfully denied, as my last evaluation stated.
I recently purchased my first home using my V. A. Home Loan Guaranty after spending every dime that I had saved and cleaning up my credit from previous years.
Trying to survive off of $550 a month will drastically put a person behind and for me this period lasted more than 5 years.
Bills that I acquired before I left the military were still coming in along with newly acquired ones and working for others is not an option due to my Post Traumatic Stress.
I am now back in school at the University of Phoenix. I am seven classes away from my bachelor's degree in Information Technology but I will not stop there.
I will continue until I have my doctorate in psychology to ensure that no more of my fellow soldiers fall through the cracks the way that I feel as though I did.
I have always been a God-fearing man and believe that he will show each of us our path in life.
I have exhausted my G.I. Bill and I am around $50,000 in debt just with school alone.
I am looking for any type of grant(s) that will completely pay off my school debt, personal debt, and help me to attain my Doctorate of Psychology so that I may become that doctor that I so desperately needed back in 2004 when I returned from Iraq.
I would like to open my own office for psychology and work with Veterans Affairs to save the lives of our returning war veterans. A person cannot be taught experience.
The Vocational Rehabilitation people have told me that they would not help me because it is not practical for me to open my own business. But saving lives is practical to me.
Through all the times in my life, good and bad, I have never stopped praying that God show me the way.
I have gone through the valley, and know what it feels like to be half way to the mountaintop.
I am looking for the stepping-stone or help to get me above and beyond where I want to go.
I can then proudly look my son in the eye and tell him that there are more people in the world that care, than do not. Thank you.
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