Boot Campaign’s Military Recovery Fund (MRF) program coordinator Mark Burleson put it best when he shared, “It’s truly amazing the difference you can make in a struggling family’s life just by extending a helping hand and letting them know that we are here to stand behind them and support them.” Nothing could be truer for Jorge M., former Army soldier, husband and father of three. After serving our country for six years including two overseas deployments, Jorge found himself in a tough spot. Facing combat-related injuries and unemployment, he was relieved when a solid lead came through. There was just one problem, and it was a big one. Enter Boot Campaign.
Jorge and his family were living in Texas when they learned of a job opportunity that seemed perfect for him. Unfortunately, it was located in Maryland, halfway across the nation. Besides the challenges of uprooting a family and starting a new job, he quickly realized the financial hardship standing between them and their future in Maryland. Though it’s incredibly difficult for most veterans to admit when they need assistance, Jorge knew he needed to ask for help to ensure his family’s success.
After applying for assistance with 19 different veterans service organizations, he came across Boot Campaign and did a bit of research online. He watched a few informational videos and decided to reach out; MRF administrator Char Westfall answered his request.
“At the beginning I was doubtful and [embarrassed] about asking for help. But then I met Char Westfall. Wow, words cannot express how good she made us feel and [how she] understood [our] situation. Without promising anything, she went to work and one day she emailed me: ‘Jorge, if you find a place that you like let us know. I will be on vacation, but you can email me and we will work it out.’ She assured us that everything would be fine and even though she was on vacation, she went the extra mile to help us. She is incredible,” he explains.
Together with the other members of the MRF committee, a plan was enacted to help the M. family move from Texas to Maryland. It was determined that Boot Campaign would fund the security deposit and first month’s rent on the family’s new home. Additionally, the committee approved a prepaid debit card to cover moving expenses, lessening their impending financial burden. In a matter of days, Jorge and his family had found hope and were back on track.
So many veterans face challenges post-service that the civilian population can’t begin to imagine. According to Marin, “Some of us can’t find a job. Some are too injured to work, others are mentally ill and many lose their lives. There is a big challenge for wounded veterans after the military, especially when we have families to take care of.” Boot Campaign’s Military Recovery Fund bridges the gap left between military families and traditional government programs and other non-profits. The resulting culture of acceptance and understanding relieves the stigma of asking for help and allows service members to feel comfortable reaching out for support.
“Boot Campaign listens to people; they have that human touch; they love what they do even on vacation!” he emphasizes. “They’re a group of angels and my family and I will always be in deep debt with them. They don’t discriminate; they saw a veteran in need of help and did what was right.”
The M. family’s challenges are not unusual; life is often difficult for veterans after service, and Boot Campaign works every day to make their transition easier and provide the life-changing assistance they need.