Header for Ability Mission

Disabled Veteran Seeks Government Grant Money for Truck Bills and Bed

by Kunkel
(American Fork, UT, USA)

The Old Truck and Our Trailer

The Old Truck and Our Trailer

The Old Truck and Our Trailer My Beautiful Family Our Grandchildren

I am a 48-year-old veteran of the war in Iraq. I am married to a wonderful wife and mother and we have 2 awesome children.

Our daughter is recently divorced and is living with us with her 2 children.

Our son is married and is going to school with his wife. They live two hours away so we don’t get to see them as often as my wife would like.

I served for over 28 years with the Utah National Guard during which time I served 1 tour in Iraq. This was from January 2004 to February 2005.

It was during this tour of duty that I was injured and ended up retiring in September 2008.

On April 18, 2004, while serving in Iraq, my entire unit was in battle dress uniform with our weapons, Kevlar and body armor.

We had several mortar attacks that morning and at 1300 received another one.

The job that I was doing was getting my maintenance team ready for movement to another location.

I was going into the back of a semi-trailer when we had a mortar blast that moved the truck and trailer that I was going into with parts.

The movement of the truck and trailer shook the ladder loose and caused me to fall into the bed of the trailer, swinging my legs up under the bed.

I also hit my face onto the door of the trailer, and threw my neck and shoulders back. I continued to fall to the ground landing on my stomach.

I was unconscious for a short period of time and when I came to, the ladder was on top of me.

The fall caused the following: 2 herniated discs in my neck, a hiatal hernia of the stomach, torn rotator cuffs in both shoulders, torn labrum in the right shoulder, and 2 herniated discs in my lower back.

I also suffer from a traumatic brain injury and PTSD.

After coming home in February 2005, I started the process of getting well.

I have had neck surgery twice, three surgeries on my right shoulder, one on my left, hiatal hernia surgery, and gall bladder surgery.

I am trying to postpone surgery on my back for as long as possible and am going through cortisone shots every 3–6 months to hopefully reduce some of the swelling in my lower back.

This swelling has caused severe pain and occasional numbness to the right leg and foot, making it necessary to use a cane at times and in severe cases makes it difficult for me to travel in our truck.

Because of the damage to my neck, shoulders and back, I have a weight restriction of 25 lbs.

I have a 30% disability rating through the military of but 80% through the Veterans Administration.

I have submitted a request to be re-evaluated to see if this can be 100% as I am unable to work. I am not able to sit or stand for long periods of time.

Because of situations that happened with our daughter, she and her 2 young children moved into our home in May 2010. She has since divorced and started to work, but they are still living with us.

Because of the nature of the divorce, she and the children came to our home with no beds, very few clothes and not much else. We have provided for them by wiping out my retirement.

We also live in an area where there has been major construction going on with the I-15 Core Project and American Fork City.

Because of this, we had to replace our driveway last fall in order to get our camping trailer in and out of our driveway. This took the rest of what I had saved.

My wife also lost her job in January of this year and has not been able to find employment yet.

Her unemployment benefits run out soon and there are some bills that are going to be very difficult to make payments on.

Because of the difficulty I have in standing or sitting for long periods of time, and because of the TBI and PTSD, it has been recommended to me that I not try to work.

The pressures of being in crowds or in situations that cause stress aggravate my symptoms.

I am collecting a VA Disability and SSI. However, because of the lack of my wife’s income, it is making it more difficult to make ends meet.

When I first retired, my wife and I wanted to try and start a small home-based woodworking business since I enjoy woodworking.

I was told that if I would go to school the VA would help me out getting started with this. This would include helping with setup and purchasing a truck.

I have gone to school for 2 years but because of the TBI, I find it difficult to grasp certain concepts.

Also, because of the PTSD, one of my counselors has advised me to not continue with this, as it will only aggravate things further.

As a result, the VA will no longer help me with getting a truck. I do not qualify for a "Creature Comfort" from them, as I did not lose my eyesight, or a limb.

We have wanted to purchase a newer truck for quite some time. One that will pull our trailer adequately, that we can carry our family and pets with us, and that I can travel in comfortably.

Because of what has happened over the last year, the down payment was used in taking care of our daughter and grandchildren.

We also need to get some credit accounts with high interest paid off. One was for a newer couch and one was for some dental work that my wife needed done 2 years ago.

We still owe the same amount we started with even though we have paid the payment every month.

We are looking for enough money to pay off these bills and purchase a club cab, heavy duty, 4x4 pick-up. We currently have a 1990 light duty that is just not able to do what we need it to.

We would also like to be able to purchase a hospital style bed, for 2, so that my wife and I can sleep together. The VA will only purchase a twin size, and “not” the style that my doctor recommends.

We really need to get a truck so that we can travel a little more with our trailer.

We would like to be able to visit our son and daughter-in-law and have a bed that I can sleep in somewhat comfortably. Hotel beds and I do not get along well.

I hope that someone will notice this and be able to help me help my family. They have been trying to help me since I was injured and I want to be able to do things with them.

My family is the most important thing to me and I want to be able to do things with them more.

Click here to post comments

Return to US Utah.