by Rick Goon
Problems of a disabled vetran
|For all who will listen,
I have taken as much as I can take and I would like for at least part of my story heard here and now. I have been a resident of the “Live Free or Die” state my entire life and I believe in this state and this country with all my heart. Now it seems things are not as they were so long ago. I signed up to defend my country when I was only 17, ready to give everything I had to defend this country and its beliefs. We all have a choice in whom, we are led by voting for our leaders, some of us take it a step further and volunteer to protect and defend our country, rights and beliefs. We volunteered to keep the freedoms we have earned with our blood and by spilling blood, sometimes even making the supreme sacrifice by securing freedom with our very lives. We do not always get all the respect we have earned here is what I went through.
I was the original red blooded American kid I had 2 dreams, to be a mechanic and to be a soldier. The first because it was something I truly loved making things run and the second because I wanted to give my country and its people everything it gave me, my freedom. I could not envision a more honorable profession. I spent 2 years as a soldier serving proudly and returned to the “Live Free or Die” state with a German wife to follow my other dream. I went to school and in 2 years time achieved an associate’s degree in applied science with a major in automotive technology. I wish I could have lived out my life doing that, good honest work. Alas thanks to my German wife after working on cars and going to school for 2 years time I had to make a decision, so to better take care of my wife, I returned to the Army. I rejoined the most honorable profession there is. Well in this life there is not anything that is ever easy and thanks to a civilian who just wanted to go home to her family I ended up not getting paid correctly for 8 months. Well I applied for an AER loan so that me and my wife could live I was told until my wife was living on the street they would give me nothing and I was not the only one in the same boat. Those in need went to the services that were in place to help soldiers and we were turned away. We were not in bad enough shape to need help. For help your family had to be in a position of homeless and heavily in debt. The conditions I was striving to prevent.
I was then sent to Germany and right after that to Bosnia before I could get anything settled with my wife. My wife having no husband and no money had taken all she could take and left me for a man who was by her side fresh out of jail who did nothing but abuse her. I gave everything I had thanks to people not caring about those they were suppose help. I started my life over. I also got stuck in a divorce that took way too long thanks to a law firm who employs lazy lawyers who could not tell me when I had to be in the country to end this fast ( just ask and I will tell you which to stay away from). After being in Bosnia 3 months finding out my wife was pregnant and that my unit and the army did not really care about me till I went high enough. If I had gone any higher it would have ruined too many careers so my pay got fixed and then my divorce finalized.
I was left with a true mess of a life that I put back together piece by piece. This I did until I developed degenerative disc disease. It did not hold me back just slowed me down, then my knees started having pain and stiffness, and then all the joints in my hands started having pain. It was so bad that if it was not for the pain killers for my back I would never have been able to go to Kossovo and then Iraq.
I could have been Happy if that was the end but it was not. After returning from Iraq I was given a medical discharge. I returned home and felt lost nothing was the same I had no real job opportunities thanks to my disabilities. I did have my severance pay to start my life with.
I was home for a week and had a job of selling Kirby vacuums door to door when I realized how dishonest the people above me and the other salesmen were I left for another sales job in the local mall.
A month after returning I got a letter from the star card people saying I owed them money I mailed them a check and planned on making payments to increase my credit. The next month on February 20 (or so) I received another letter from star card saying I had to pay my bill in full by February 5 or the bill would be turned over to the IRS, I called the number on the bill and was told it was too late to pay it, but they would not be charging interest and would just take my taxes. Over three years later they took my taxes and when I investigated it I found out they have also charged me 3 years interest and the bill had tripled they will not adjust it only charge me outrageous interest.
The VA was (and still is) almost impossible to get disability from. Four and a half years later I am still trying to get everything connected they will not do anything about my hands or knees. One good part about VA and the only one is the Voc Rehab program I applied and they are doing everything they can to get me back into a new career (since I can’t work as a mechanic anymore). Aside from that I am getting married soon with a baby on the way and I have no idea what to do or how I am going to be able to take care of my family. Life would have been a whole lot different if I did not go into the military in the first place. I would not take back that choice for anything, I just wish there was better options for those who served and now have nothing (that and a way to take care of the star card bill).
Thank you for reading and if you ever have a chance to help a disabled soldier please remember me and help them out. Hold a door, buy them a coffee or if you are an employer and have an interview with them give them a chance they will surprise you.