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UNMET NEEDS MEANS SHELTER FOR A FAMILY OF SEVEN

When a military family of seven hit rock bottom, VFW was there to cushion the fall ...

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“We prayed every night that our electricity and heat wouldn’t be turned off during the winter months. We were afraid we’d be thrown out onto the streets … forced to live in our car. We had no one,” said Amy Perez, wife of Sgt. Alexis Perez, 10-year military member.

Sgt. Perez incurred several injuries during his final, two-year-long deployment to Iraq. In three separate incidents, Sgt. Perez suffered five slipped disks, a broken ankle, fractured foot and shin, permanent hearing loss, severe memory loss and Post Traumatic Stress.

“There were times when my husband couldn’t remember our oldest daughter’s name,” said Amy.

In the face of severe pain and mental turmoil, Perez continued to serve his country, which he did without proper medical attention. It wasn’t until a bullet grazed his head and sent him tumbling down a cement tower, that the military took notice and medically retired Perez.

Newly retired, Perez was given a mere three weeks to leave military housing and relocate with his wife and five children.

“We did okay the first three months,” said Amy, “but by then our savings was used up and my husband’s benefits never came. Each month, we prayed the money would come through, but we just got further and further behind.”

Given the extent of Perez’s injuries, Amy was forced to quit her job and care for him full-time. Suddenly two incomes became none.

As times got tougher, the Perez children—who changed schools for the third time in three years due to military housing issues—began to feel the pressure.

“I couldn’t buy my children clothes or school supplies. I couldn’t even give them a proper birthday party,” said Amy. “And the kids at school were cruel, harassing my kids and calling them ‘poor’. It really took a toll on them.”

It was almost Christmas last year when Amy found the help her family needed.

“I searched countless websites looking for help for military families, and finally found VFW.”

After submitting an application for assistance, Amy received a $2,500 grant from VFW Unmet Needs. The grant covered past due rent and utilities.

“Because of the grant, we kept our home and made it through to March, when Alexis’ benefits were finally granted,” said Amy.

Amy is grateful for all the supporters that make this grant available to families in need.

“Because of these generous people, we are happy, healthier and working hard to get back to normal,” Amy concluded.

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