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Posts Tagged ‘Wounded warrior Project’

An unexpected expense would usually not be an issue for Air Force veteran Martin Scammel and his wife, Alice. But the series of emergencies that hit them this year was not normal and not planned.

Martin Two of usMartin Scammel has over 23 years of service spanning from the Vietnam War to Iraqi Freedom. After high school, Martin joined the Army in July 1972 because he wanted to be a helicopter mechanic. After a ceasefire was declared, Martin left the Army in 1975.

Later, Martin decided to join the Air National Guard, and then he enlisted in the Air Force. “Martin enjoyed what he was doing,” said his wife Alice. “He liked traveling, meeting people, and learning about different cultures.”

His time in the military took Martin to Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Ord, California; Landstuhl, Germany; and Diego Garcia, to name a few. Martin also had deployments to France, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq. It was in Iraq that Martin was wounded and medically retired from the Air Force in March 2007 with a 100% disability rating.

The Scammels had been successful financially during their transition to civilian life. But earlier this year, Alice fell and broke her arm; she was out of work for three months with no pay. Between the physical therapy and surgery, the couple’s emergency savings was depleted.

Then a hail storm came through their area. The Scammel’s roof was damaged to the point that it needed to be completely replaced. Their homeowner’s insurance would cover the damage; however, the Scammels had depleted their savings and did not have the money to cover the $5,000 deductible.

Martin and Alice

Martin reached out to Wounded Warrior Project for help. WWP suggested that Martin reach out to Operation Homefront and apply for assistance. “I thought I was filling out an application to get a no,” said Alice. “Before my caseworker called, I was thinking that I would say it’s OK that you couldn’t help, and I was trying to come up with another way.”

“My caseworker Virginia was so very nice,” said Alice. “Virginia spoke to USAA, and then Operation Homefront sent the money to the contractor. Virginia was a godsend.”

“Please tell your donors thank you,” said Alice. “My husband has given so much of (his) life to the  military. We had an emergency fund. Martin was always there for his country and others when needed (and now) Martin has a lot of health issues and had some post traumatic-stress injuries…it was so nice to have someone say ‘we are going to help you now’.”

“Everybody at Operation Homefront has been so nice,” said Alice. “The process was not hard. Virginia was nice, supportive, and helpful. We are not used to asking for money. Virginia made us feel comfortable. This is not a position we like to be in. With Operation Homefront, it did not seem like a handout but rather a hand up.”

This blog is part of our “11 Days. 11 Stories” series where we seek to honor veterans. Check back here daily through Nov. 11 to read stories of those we’ve served. You can also join in the conversation with us by sharing stories of your own. Through Facebook or Twitter, please use the hashtag #RaiseYourHand to share your own inspirational story or picture of your military experience or a veteran in your life.

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Taylor Bass took her love for goats and found a way to support military families and thank Operation Homefront for helping her family through a tough time.

Taylor Bass took her love for goats and found a way to support military families and thank Operation Homefront for helping her family through a tough time.

You could hear the bubbling enthusiasm as she spoke. “Mom! Cookie had babies!” That excited report came from Taylor Bass, the 9-year-old daughter of Army veteran and wounded warrior Benjamin Bass.

“Cookie” is a goat. And Taylor loves goats … and pretty much all animals. But what sets Taylor apart is that she is using her love for the farm and talent for raising animals to give back to people in need.

At Operation Homefront, we are continually touched by the generous nature of those who raise money for us with different kinds of fundraisers, but we have a special place for the kids who give back. And they find unique ways to be generous. Like the young girl who took donations on a back country road during the popular RAGBRAI bike ride across Iowa and raised $1000 for military families.

When we learned of Taylor’s unique story, word spread quickly among our staff.

 

 

Like most military kids, Taylor has experienced the pain of separation from a parent who serves.

Like most military kids, Taylor has experienced the pain of separation from a parent who serves.

Taylor’s dad, who served one tour in Iraq, was hit by a car while on active duty. As a result of complications from combat PTSD and those injuries, he was medically retired. In the midst of transitioning from military service to civilian life in Texas, the family struggled as they waited for their benefits to be sorted out. As their options began to run out, Operation Homefront stepped in to help. “Operation Homefront saved us because we didn’t get paid for three months and I didn’t have the money to pay (the car payment) and utilities … and (you) gave us money for food to feed our kids and diapers for my baby boy. (You) also helped us find other assistance in our area to cover our phone and school supplies for Taylor,” said Taylor’s mom, Krista.

Taylor sums it up neatly. “You guys helped us,” she said. And so, when family life became more stable, she wanted to say thanks by giving back. And she found a unique way to do that.

Taylor joined 4-H and started raising two goats – Elsa and Olaf. She did so well taking care of them that when she went to show them at the local county fair, one of her goats was selected for the premium auction at the livestock sale that followed the event.

Erica Howe, Community Liaison for Operation Homefront, met Taylor at the Texas A & M AgriLife Extension Service Office to receive Taylor’s gift to Operation Homefront.

Erica Howe, Community Liaison for Operation Homefront, met Taylor at the Texas A & M AgriLife Extension Service Office to receive Taylor’s gift to Operation Homefront.

At the auction, the bidding reached $1700 for her goat. Then, the word got out that she was giving the proceeds of the sale to support military families. People began to contribute money to the auction and to Taylor, to help her continue in 4-H.

The next day, her second goat was to be sold at another nearby auction and the news of Taylor’s intentions followed her there. The goat was sold, returned to Taylor, and resold several times, raising $1800.

 

When it was all over, Taylor had raised more than $3000 for Operation Homefront and she also made a donation to Wounded Warrior Project. “I’m super proud of her,” said Taylor’s mom.

Not one to sit back and be idle, Taylor is raising goats for 4-H again. This year, she wants the proceeds to go to children who are battling cancer. In fact, her goat Elsa was sold to a local farmer and Taylor may end up getting one of Elsa’s babies to continue her ongoing tradition of “kids” giving back.

Thank you for your service! Army veteran and wounded warrior Benjamin Bass and his family, Jaiden, Taylor and Krista have weathered a difficult transition from military to civilian life and are enjoying life on their acreage in Texas.

Thank you for your service! Army veteran and wounded warrior Benjamin Bass and his family, Jaiden, Taylor and Krista have weathered a difficult transition from military to civilian life and are enjoying life on their acreage in Texas.

 

Taylor gives us the perfect example to follow. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’re up to…you can make a difference. Thanks Taylor!

 

 

 

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marknewberry-airforceMark Newberry, Air Force

Mark moved for the 10th time, from Virginia to Washington state, the summer before his senior year.  He carries a 4.25 GPA with a course load of Advanced Placement statistics, anatomy, physiology, European history and literature.   Mark earned three varsity letters in cross-country and placed third with his team at the state championship.  He earned the prestigious rank of Eagle in Boy Scouts at just 13 years old.  Mark teaches Sunday school, visits shut-ins every other weekend and volunteers at the local VA thrift store and elderly village.  His school principal, John McSmith wrote, “Mark is a person of character who always does the right thing.  He is thoughtful and considerate to everyone, willing to help and work for the success of the team.”  He participated in the Duke University TIP Program for clinical psychology and shadowed a surgeon for 20 hours for his senior honors project, all in pursuit of a career in medicine.  Mark will study pre-med and has been accepted to the University of Texas-Austin, the University of Michigan and Baylor University and awaiting to hear back from Air Force ROTC and a few other universities.  He is the son of Jill and Brian Newberry.

nicolemariedaly-armyNicole Marie Daly, Army

Nicole, age 16, has moved 9 times and so far, attended 3 high schools.  Despite these constant changes, Nicole is ranked near the top of her class with a 4.7 GPA, a weighted score based on her coursework of Honors and Advanced Placement classes.  She has earned varsity letters in both cross-country and track, and runs half-marathons with her father.  Nicole served as the Military Child Education Representative for Fort Lee on a panel determining ways to help military children transition between schools.  Nicole also volunteers with a Family Readiness Group, the Fort Lee Spouse’s Club, and spends weekends visiting National Guard and Reserve units to teach soldiers and dependents about their education benefits.  Nicole was nominated by her school counselor, Tara Bauman-Seely, who wrote, “She is truly an example of a well-rounded student and immediately embraced her new environment and involved herself with extra-curricular activities.  She certainly stands out to me as a role model for military students!”  Nicole is the daughter of Cathy and Edward Daly.

amandawimmerberg-coastguardAmanda Wimmersberg, Coast Guard

Amanda is a gifted and talented senior with a 4.0 GPA and is captain of the varsity soccer team and track team.  She is a member of the Peer Leadership program which helps freshman acclimate to their new school by providing an older student to talk to about problems and make sure they aren’t getting bullied.  Amanda was the Teen Panel member of the Military Family Action Planning Committee and volunteers with her soccer team, student council and National Honor Society to organize beach cleanups and fundraisers.  She conducts senior citizen home visits with her church youth group.  Amanda is Red Cross CPR and First Aid certified and works as a lifeguard at the local community college.  Amanda was nominated by her school counselor, Kelly Reising, who wrote, “Frequent moves have always been a part of her life and so Amanda adapted quickly to her new environment. From the beginning, it was clear that Amanda was resilient, hard-working and intelligent.”  Amanda will begin college at the University of Central Florida where she will study to be a physical therapist.  Amanda is the daughter of Christina and Richard Schultz.

abigailmaryroseperdew-marinecorpsAbigail MaryRose Perdew, Marine Corps

Abigail is student council president and captain of the cross-country team and track and field team.  She carries a 4.1 GPA as a full International Baccalaureate (IB) senior with advanced placement courses in economics, calculus, European history and physics.  She has volunteered over 200 hours this year including math tutoring and as president of Student 2 Student, has grown the outreach of this group which helps new students acclimate to their new school and host country culture.  Linda Berger, the IB Coordinator for Bahrain School, wrote, “In my nearly thirty years as a secondary school educator, I regard Abigail as one of my top students.  She is intelligent, talented, highly motivated and positive.”    Abigail has earned an appointment to the United States Naval Academy and plans to study development economics and Arabic.  She would like to work as an attaché or Foreign Area Officer and in the long term, as a diplomat or run for public office.  Abigail is the daughter of Jessica and Jason Perdew.

alexanderrayburch-navyAlexander Ray Burch, Navy

Born at 25 weeks and 1.5lbs, Alexander Ray Burch was not expected to survive the night.  He pulled through but at age four, doctors discovered he was hearing impaired and would continue to lose his hearing with age.  Instead of limiting him, Alexander excels in doing for others.  While living in Guam, then nine-year old Alexander collected food and water and delivered supplies to villagers who lost their homes in a devastating typhoon.  Since then, he has grown into an honors student and chess enthusiast who immerses himself in volunteering, over 400 hours this past year including producing a video for an Anti-Bullying Campaign.  He is a member of the golf team and on homecoming court.  Dawn Thompson, Director of Youth Programs at Grand Forks Air Force Base wrote, “There is nothing he will not do and ‘no’ does not appear to be in his vocabulary.  He is an inspiration for all kids and many adults.”  While his hearing disability prevents Alexander from pursuing his dream of a Navy career, he plans to study at the University of North Dakota for a career in government supporting the military.  Alexander is the son of Joanne and David Burch.

United Technologies Corporation (UTC) is the presenting sponsor for the Military Child of the Year® Award. UTC, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company that provides high technology products and services to the building and aerospace industries.

Additional event sponsors include: Wounded Warrior ProjectMilitary Times, Soldiers’ AngelsVeterans United FoundationBank of AmericaExpress ScriptsTeenCentralLaQuinta Inn & HotelsFlextronics, and Northrop Grumman.

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