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VFW AIDS VETERAN IN TREATMENT

One step closer to recovery, Jonathan Winchester turned to VFW.

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“When I came home from Afghanistan, I was not the same person I was when I left. I was withdrawn, anxious and uninterested. Interacting with anyone was almost painful,” said Sgt. Jonathan Winchester. “I finally decided to go into an intensive, inpatient PTSD program.”

With that, Winchester made the first step toward his recovery. The problem? Being in treatment full-time left this father of four unable to work.

“I really dreaded having to go back to my friends and family and ask them for help,” said Winchester, who served 18 years in the military before being medically retired in 2008.

Fortunately for Winchester, a counselor at the Battle Creek VA Hospital urged him to apply for a VFW Unmet Needs grant. Winchester was approved after what he described as a ‘painless’ process.

“This grant relieved a ton of stress and worry and, because I didn’t have to ask my loved ones for help, it really boosted my self-confidence,” said Winchester.

With the grant, Winchester was able to pay his rent, phone and utilities. In addition, Winchester received a Wal-Mart gift card, which he used to buy gas and groceries.

It means so much to Winchester that he has the support of fellow veterans during his difficult transition to civilian life.

“There’s something special about getting a helping hand from people who really understand,” said Winchester. “VFW always reaches out to its brothers and sisters who’ve served. That’s why I’m honored to call myself a member.”

Winchester always knew he’d be a veteran–it’s in his blood.

“My family has been in the military for generations. I’m just proud to say that I’ve done my patriotic duty as a citizen of the greatest country on earth,” Winchester concluded.

Through Unmet Needs, which launched in 2004, VFW has distributed more than $4 million in emergency financial assistance to U.S. service members and their families. With help from generous individuals and corporate sponsors, the program has been a “lifeline” for more than 2,789 families across America.

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