Gulf War Veteran Too Proud to Ask

My husband, an 8-year Army Veteran, served in Desert Storm, leading the charge into Baghdad with The Big Red One. Now, all these years later, he is suffering from multiple physical and emotional issues that are commonly associated with Gulf War Syndrome and the exposure to sarin gas.    

See USA Today article on the chemical exposure Harry suffered.

Harry is a strong man who bleeds American pride. He has always accepted his aches and pains as part of his service to our country - never wanting to seek assistance from the V.A. Recently, however, his pain has become unbearable and his ability to take care of our home and property is deteriorating. Working full time in maintenance is taking all that he has. He is in constant pain, doesn't sleep, and needs assistance with things as simple as putting on his socks and shoes every day. He wakes up in tears at night, unable to lift his arms to pull the blankets over his shoulders. Yet he still pushes himself to go to work every day and do the best he can for his employer and for our family.

Harry finally made an appointment with the Veteran's Administration and filed for assistance. His case was, of course, promptly denied as is common with the V.A. Now we are facing an uphill battle to prove that his increasing physical pain is directly related to his wartime service.

In the meantime, as both of us work full time to try and keep up with the bills, we've been unable to pay our property taxes and for some desperately needed home repairs.

This year our property went into foreclosure for back taxes.  Unable to come up with enough money to pay the full amount, we had no choice but to let it go to auction.  We scraped together every penny we could muster and went to the auction with the hope of winning our land back.  We were lucky enough to win the bid and thought we had dodged a bullet.  In today's mail was a letter from the county stating that because we were the previous owners, our bid could not be accepted.  We now have until June 26th to pay the full balance due (over $4000) or the land will be awarded to the 2nd highest bidder.

We are hopeful that Harry's appeal will be heard and the V.A. will approve his claim for disabled veteran benefits.   In the meantime, we can only pray for some Divine intervention to get us through our rough patch.


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Helen Emborski Button 
Olean, NY
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