Please Help A Veteran Have A Home

I recently launched a4-455E6BCC-564561-800 Go Fund Me campaign that likely has some questioning its existence. I hope to explain these in this article. I also hope to explain why this campaign is so important to me.

First, a bit of background. In late 2012, my wife was offered the opportunity to take a temporary job assignment outside of the U.S. As this would be an accompanied assignment, it meant she and I and our children would be moving. We faced a dilemma of what to do with our house. With the market being such that it was, we knew selling it would not work very well for our short time frame. Therefore, we chose to try to rent it out. Renting your home to strangers when you are living outside of the United States can be risky. After all, it isn’t possible to monitor the tenants nor how they treat the property in your absence. We really did not want to get into a mess with the whole renting thing, but had no choice given our decision to move for my wife’s job.

About this same time, a former student and her husband were about to return to the U.S. from Germany where he had been stationed. Well, where his wife, my former student, had been living while he was deployed to Afghanistan with the Army. They were seeking a nice place to live back in her hometown. Now, houses in the area are rather expensive as are the rents. As she looked for houses to rent, she located one that she liked. She spoke with the owners/landlords who were willing to rent to them. However, they wanted to meet her husband first. On the day he could be there to look at the house, he got out of their vehicle. Now, Devin (not his real name) is a rather rough looking individual. He has a few tattoos and is built like a fighter, as he should be given his stint with the Army. When they went to the door, the owner/landlord said the house was already to be rented to someone else. It seemed to the couple that this decision was made based on the veteran’s appearance rather than the truth. However, they are not the type of people to confront individuals who are being ignorant about judging appearances over character, so they went away still looking for a place to live.

She and I came into contact with one another and I mentioned our situation with needing to find renters. Angela (not her real name) brought Devin over to see the house. They fell in love with it. We talked more and discovered that what they could afford was less than our mortgage payment, but time was growing short for us to find someone to trust with our house. After a great deal of prayer and soul searching, we agreed to rent to them for less than what we pay each month for our mortgage. Financially, not the best idea, but something just told us that this house was meant for them. We’d always seen the next owners as a young couple as it is a good starter house in a fairly decent part of the town. The plan was for them to rent to own the house from us.

A couple of months passed and we moved out and they moved in. Everything seemed to be working for all of us. Angela was attending school part-time and working. Devin was working steady as well. However, things would not remain good. He started showing signs of PTSD from his tour in Afghanistan. (As I learned from Devin, he had been sent to Afghanistan to be a mechanic for the vehicles. However, they needed a gunner and placed him in that position. While on patrol, his convoy hit an IED).

When it came to his new job back here, he was laid off after a couple of months. Eventually, after a couple of months, he got another job, only to be laid off shortly thereafter. They fell behind on their bills and lost their only car. Still, they managed to get by, but unfortunately did so by relying on check advance services. Adding insult to injury, they suffered another miscarriage.

We noticed that rent was late and worked with them to keep a roof over their heads by allowing them to pay what they could to us. This, in turn, reduced what savings we had as well since we needed to borrow from what little we had in savings to pay our bills since I cannot locate employment in the country where we are living. Fortunately, both of them are back to working full time again, but they still struggle to make ends meet as they are trying to catch up on their bills. We are still working with them when it comes to rent, but it is becoming hard on all of us. A recent update from this couple advised me that they are now parents to twins. As joyful as this is for them after trying for so long, I know that this will also lead to more expenses for them.

When I was praying the other day, it struck me. If people who care only for themselves can start a Go Fund Me campaign, why can’t someone who actually wants to help someone else? So, I started a campaign to try to raise the funds needed to pay off the mortgage on the house and give it to this young couple. They take great care of the place as if it was already their own. They have served our country as both a soldier and the spouse of a soldier. They are hard-working honest people who just need something to give them a chance to get back on more solid ground financially. They have worked so hard for the past two years to try to buy this house and have a home of their own. We would like to see that happen sooner for them rather than later.

Some people may be wondering, when they see this campaign, as to if I plan to profit from the sale of the house. The simple answer is no. All this campaign is for is the amount owed on the mortgage so that we can give this family the house. Nothing more than that. Is it a loss on our part not to try to make a profit on the sale of the house? Maybe, given we lived in that house for over 12 years and we want nothing from any equity that may have built up over the years.

However, that is not what this is about. It is about helping a veteran and his wife and family have a decent home of their own. Alone, we cannot afford to do this for them. We have tried and continue to try. However, maybe if others help, then this can come to fruition.

The only profit I’ll make on this is knowing that the house is theirs. Yes, the mortgage will be paid, but when we hand the deed to this couple, it will be far more worth it than the house is to us. The house will be theirs.

Some may question why I am not giving the couple’s real names. It is out of respect for them. I know that once Devin found out about this idea, he was embarrassed and feels that somehow he is a failure as a provider. I have assured him that he isn’t. All of us have fallen on tough times sometime in our lives. Theirs has been a bit overwhelming though. I can assure you that they are no relation to us. If anyone wants to know more about them privately, then I will answer that as best I can. However, I wish to continue to respect their privacy and will not reveal their names outside of a private email to anyone who requests it.

I double checked with the folks at Go Fund Me to see if this was a valid campaign and they approved it before I even started it. I tried to run this without the couple knowing, but they found out as I posted the campaign on Facebook and Twitter. Again, they are a bit embarrassed that I’m doing this as they truly wanted to make it all on their own, but agreed to let me continue with the campaign. They are continuing to try to make full rent payments as this campaign continues. I will make every effort to update the amount needed as the mortgage amount decreases. The amount we are looking to raise will go down through both our mortgage payments being made as well as any contributions the campaign may raise. I will not take any funds from this campaign until we are at goal and only then to pay off the mortgage so we can give this family their house.

The link for the campaign is

Thank you.

Memorial Day 2013

Memorial Day 2013. A day for many to have off work and cook out with friends and family. Maybe even catch a movie or a baseball game or even watch some golf. However, more than all of this, it is a day that we need to reflect on the sacrifices of those who went to war or into battle as members of our armed forces. By sacrifices, we need to remember those who have died, but we also must remember those who continue to fight the war even after they return home.
Take, for example, the soldier who has, like so many of our soldiers, endured multiple deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan with little time off between them. Yes, they were trained for combat; however, the human mind and body can only take so much stress before it has negative effects. A friend of mine told me about his commanding officer who had endured multiple deployments. He was a good man who cared deeply about his troops. They loved him for it. He would hang out with them when they would go out on the town when in Germany. He made certain they made it safely back to base. This man, when he found out he was to be deployed once again to Afghanistan, committed suicide rather than face the horrors of war again. I believe it would have been his fourth deployment. It is shameful for our country to send these men and women into harm’s way time and time again without some way for them to decompress and get the help they need to deal with the psychological scars of war.
There are thousands of veterans who have returned to their homes and jobs, but within themselves, part of them is still at war. They continue to fight the battles in their heads as they cannot get it out of their minds. It haunts them and causes many of them to take their own lives to escape the pain. These veterans suffer from what was once known as shell shock, but is now known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is the same thing regardless of the more politically correct moniker. It is hard to treat as many do not seek the assistance they need because they fear it is a sign of weakness to ask for help. Instead, they suffer through unknown rages or even recurring images of war that haunt them as they attempt to return to normal.
Another sad aspect of this is that, since their wounds are not in the open, many believe they have no injuries. We need to remember that although the body is intact, the mind may not be. Unfortunately, there are simply not enough professionals in the military to help these young men and women with the war raging in their minds. If someone sees a veteran with limbs lost, they want to help. Yet, those who have not lost a limb still have lost part of themselves and need our help desperately. The nightmares do not end for them. Sometimes the slightest sound or scent can trigger an episode of anxiety or panic for them. We have heard past news headlines where this has led to people being killed. While that does occur, many more veterans suffering from PTSD take their own life rather than the lives of others.
These young men and women deserve so much more than to suffer. They deserve our support. They need to be put in contact with professionals who can help them. They need to know that it is okay to ask for help. It is hard for someone who has been trained to fight and keep their pain silent to open up and tell their story, but it has happen for healing to begin. Their loved ones go through it with them, yet may not even realize what they are truly going through in their minds. We, as Americans, need to demand that these veterans get the help they need. We need to urge our elected officials to provide funding for adequate mental health services for our veterans. While many veterans may not currently show their pain, it is bound to surface sometime in their lives. They need help.
So, as you sit down to enjoy your hamburger or hot dog or the game, take a moment and also write to your elected officials and demand better for our veterans. Not just those with visible wounds and scars, but those whose scars are deeper.