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HELPING A MILITARY FAMILY COPE

"It's one less headache..."

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“When I deployed, my 12-year-old son Dylan had a lot of trouble adjusting,” said Sgt. George Nikolaou.

George had been in the military for 12 years—all of Dylan’s life. He had bounced around from Kuwait to Iraq, and his time at home was limited.

“Dylan is such an emotional kid and, especially at his age, he really needed his father. Things got so bad that my wife was forced to quit her job to look after him.”

George’s wife Michelle worked as a special education teacher at an elementary school in their hometown of Reading, Penn. But when the calls from Dylan’s school kept pouring in, desperate times called for desperate measures.

“We were doing just fine, and then we were knocked down to one income,” said George. “Suddenly we were more than $2,000 behind on our rent. I didn’t know what to do.”

Then a VA representative told George about the VFW Unmet Needs grant and wrote him a letter of recommendation. Within two weeks, George received help from VFW.

George used the grant to pay his past-due rent and get his family back on solid ground.

“My family is so grateful for the support,” said George. “Now we don’t have to worry about where we’ll sleep … it’s one less headache.”

Now that George is home, Dylan has begun to heal.

“He knows now that his Dad is always here for him … whether at home or overseas,” said George.

But some things have yet to get better for the Nikolaou family.

“Michelle tried to return to teaching but the school board cut funding,” said George. “We are still taking things one day at a time, but it means a lot to us that Americans out there really care.”

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