My name is Cari. I've worked with Jennifer for many years. She has had enough to battle during her 50 years of life. I am hoping this GoFundMe can ease the burden just a little bit.
Here is Jennifers story:
Jerry was in Desert Storm in 90-91. We got married after he came
home. In 2003 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and went thru two surgeries, chemo and radiation. One more surgery in 04 to make what remained of that breast look close to 'normal' again. During that his Navy unit was sent to Iraq but he managed to be allowed to stay and take care of me.
In 2006 he was deployed to Iraq. What I got back was a very different
person, he was unable to go back to his job because of the PTSD, and
while the Navy retrained him in a different field he found it hard to
keep a job there too because of his PTSD. As time went by his PTSD and depression continued to get worse and worse until I had to tell him he needed to get help or I was going to leave, I couldn't deal with seeing
him the way he was. The counseling and meds helped, to a point, but once again this kept getting worse and worse until he barely left the house.
His ham radio hobby and being able to be in his man-cave with the radios was how he dealt with what was going on in his head. There he could regulate his input and be able to hid what was going on in his head.
The VA finally recognized his PTSD as a 100% disability and started
compensating him for his disability but he was still so detached that he
was barely able to be a parent and a husband. Once again I was thinking
about leaving because it hurt so much to see him like that. But you
don't just give up on 30+ years and walk away. Then we heard about a
local non-profit that trains dogs to help veterans with PTSD called
Battle Buddies in Battleground. It took him a year to even apply,
despite his counselor and I encouraging him to apply. We were on the
waiting list to get a dog for almost two years. While I hung in there by
a thread, just hoping to heck that this dog would help him enough that I
could love him again. He had just completed 6 weeks of training down
there with the dog and brought him home four days before the fire. Since the fire started in his har radio room he lost absolutely everything. He now no longer has his 40+ year hobby or a place to escape. And he blames himself for the fire because he was actually out running errands with his service dog when it started. We're lucky the dog came when he did because I don't know if he'd have survived this without him.
The fire in her words:
Shortly after I got to work, I got a call from the alarm company that the alarm was going off. I immediately texted my husband to alert him.
When he pulled into the driveway a few minutes later there was black smoke pouring out of the house. He called 911 and then me. Someone from work drove me home and we arrived to fire trucks clear up the road so I jumped out of the car and started running, yelling, "It's my house" at firefighters as I went.
Standing in the snow in the front yard watching smoke pour out of my house while my husband, the man who until receiving a service dog had rarely left the house, comforts me as I cry thinking the fire was his fault because he hadn’t been there.
We’re all ok, all of us, including his service dog. We were not home.
There is extensive damage to both his and my hobby rooms. He lost everything in his room, 40 years worth of his hobby, his tools, everything. I haven’t been into my side, the firefighters were nice enough to pull most of my record collection out afterwards, but I have no idea how much they were damaged. 35 years of collecting.
Most of the rest of the house seems to be smoke and water damage but the house will probably need to be gutted.
I know it's all just stuff, and that all that’s important is that we’re all ok. But when you actually realize that there were things you can not replace and that your insurance company probably won’t pay for all of it, it’s just too much to think about. I have no idea yet what the numbers will look like.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
As we all know, insurance will cover some things but many items are irreplaceable. Jennifer has been so strong for Jerry, she hasn't even taken the time to mourn the loss of the items that meant so much to her.
If enough is raised, Jennifer wants to buy Jerry a new radio so that he has some semblance of 'normal' and something to help him cope with this.
Please. This family has had it so hard. Any financial assistance they receive will be greatly appreciated. It is going to take a while for the magnitude of this horrific event to even settle in. If they have a little spending money to help take away just a little of the pain, I know it will help.
Anything you can do - they will appreciate it from the bottom of their hearts. That's who they are. Lets let them experience what it feels to be on the receiving end of love for a change. At this very critical time in their lives, they can really use it. Please share so others can help too.
- Susan Tanner
- Suzanne Willis
- Rhonda Davidson
- Angi Long
Organizer and beneficiary
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