Help a soldier graduate from college



 My brother, Mikie has been fighting to get a college education for more than 10 years. When Mikie was 18, my mom abandoned my brother and two sisters, emptying the house, filling a dumpster with our childhood, and putting the house up for sale. She kicked my father out and moved upstate with her boyfriend. She didn't want my younger brothers or sisters there because her new boyfriend might not like it, so my sisters came to live with my husband and I in our three-bedroom bungalow with our preschooler and infant. The front bedroom became the sleeping room, housing bunkbeds, a toddler bed, and a crib. The middle bedroom was the 'dresser room' where we stored all their clothing and belongings (dressers for two teen girls, a preschooler and an infant, plus changing table). My brother was over 18, and ended up floating between the couch in my house to a couch in a friend's house to squatting in my mom's now-empty house. When she moved and put it on the market, she stopped paying the bills - there was no power and no furniture. The year before all this happened, he had done a semester at St. Joseph's University, but found that he didn't like it there, so he came home. It turned out that whether he liked it there or not was irrelevant since mom hadn't paid that bill or submitted any financial aid information, so the semester bill was due and he couldn't continue if he wanted to unless it was paid up. I tried to take him to visit other schools, but the financial aid and tuition was a hurdle that we found too difficult to get past. Finally, Mikie decided he would enlist in the Army. It was frightening and upsetting, but he was determined. He spent time in Germany and then was deployed to Iraq. The photo above is from his time in Kuwait with The Big Red One.(HQ Platoon, C Co, 1/26 Infantry, of the BIG RED ONE, in Kuwait. (Feb. 2004))  After his serivce he returned to Germany and then the US. He ended his time with the Army and resumed his college studies using the G.I. Bill.

Every year, the majority of his tax money goes toward repayment of the loan for St. Joseph's University. It should have been paid off when my parent's divorced (the loan is in their name also and they told him that part of the settlement would cover the payoff of the loan) but both parents let him down again and so now it is past due with interest. Mikie has not had the luxury of a savings account, or for that matter, a positive role model for finances (none of my brothers or sisters or I have that, actually). He lives paycheck to paycheck, and has returned to the military (Army Reserves) to help with benefits and to supplement his income. It isn't much, but it helps. We have all struggled to overcome the neglect and abuse we sustained from our parents and we work hard as we have always had to do. I have sacrificed and struggled with finances my entire adult life, but I have always done my best to make sure my brothers and sisters have had what they needed to have 'normal' and happy in light of our parents, even at the expense of my own family and home needs.

Mikie is a week away from graduation. He is almost 34 and it seems like he has been trying to finish college forever. He has worked part-time jobs to allow time for attending classes at the University of Wyoming and has been paying for school with the help of the GI Bill. Unfortunately, today he learned that the final semester units of credit outnumber what is covered by the GI Bill, and he has a tuition bill of $1334.08 which needs to be paid in full by next week in order for him to walk with his class. He has already lined up an exciting teaching position in a High School in Alaska, but now that hope for full-time employment, stability, and benefits is in danger of being taken away.

It has been over ten years since my family broke apart, but the ripples of damage just seem to keep hitting... I can't bear for my brother's efforts to be crushed. I'm sure he could put in extra hours and get it paid off (at his minimum-wage job), but not before his class walks, not before his Alaska job begins, and not before his heart is broken - again.

Every Mother's Day is very difficult for us. Our mother has seriously broken our hearts again and again, and while we try to move on (as she has done without us - making herself a whole new life as if none of us ever existed) her mistakes continue to haunt us. We all have challenges to face, and my brothers and sisters and I have done what we had to in order to get past the troubles. But it's been such a long time, and he has worked so hard. He served our country. He has put in his time and is so close to finally achieving his goal. If we all just give a small amount, I'm sure we can make a difference and he can graduate on time. If I was in a position to pay it for him, I would. But I am not. But I know that there are so many wonderful people who have been such a positive part of my life, and so many of you are here on Facebook and know our story. Those who don't, you do know us as hard-working and selfless and even though this is a "fund-me" site, it is the only thing I could think of to try to help my brother. He has been let down so many times. Even by me because my house wasn't big enough for me to take him in full time when he should have had a home during those bad years. So I really want to help him now. I know there is no way I can be there for him when he graduates because airfare to Wyomnig is out of my budget, but I want to know that he has the opportunity after all his time and hard work.  

Thank you for reading our story. I know my brother will appreciate your generosity as I do. Even $10 is appreciated. Every little bit helps. 
  • Tina & Joe Livezey 
    • $50 
    • 85 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 85 mos
  • Cynthia Wise 
    • $10 
    • 85 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 85 mos
  • Annalee Tryon 
    • $25 
    • 85 mos
See all

Organizer

Jenni Cotignola Clark 
Organizer
Whitehouse Station, NJ
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