Discouraged Veteran
$240 raised
2% of $10k goal
8 contributors
5 Years running
Jeremy M Gittens is a former U.S. Air Force Reservist, and Marine, who was serving a tour of duty in Iraq patrolling an Air Force Base as Security Police detail, where he became seriously ill from an environmental exposure to chemical agents in 2006. ...
Jeremy M Gittens is a former U.S. Air Force Reservist, and Marine, who was serving a tour of duty in Iraq patrolling an Air Force Base as Security Police detail, where he became seriously ill from an environmental exposure to chemical agents in 2006. The chemical agents became trapped in his diverticulum resulting in the loss of half his colon. Upon Jeremy’s return to the United States he was still responsible to attend his "drill days" with his Reserve Unit. During that time period he required multiple revision surgeries and was forced to attend drills with his colostomy. Eventually, Jeremy was given a military discharge at 100% service connected disability and in 2010 he was allowed to leave his Reserve Unit. Unfortunately, he lost his full-time job with the New York State Department of Corrections and now he is currently losing a costly fight with the Veterans Administration (VA). On June 26, 2012 Jeremy received a letter from the VA stating that they would be garnished two months of his VA Disability pay to repay the debt he owed for drill days. Jeremy called the VA immediately and attempted to setup a payment plan but the supervisor said there was nothing he could do and that the method of repayment was a governmental policy. Jeremy explained that a garnishment of 90% of his pay would leave him with approximately $100/month to live on for housing, food, transportation, child support and bills. No other agency inflicts this sort of hardship on an individual to satisfy a debt. He believes that he should repay the debt but not in this manner. The garnishment began on September 2012. Jeremy was so discouraged with the system that he contacted the office of Congressman Bill Owens of the NY 23rd District but that has resulted in even a worse outcome. The VA reinvestigated Jeremy's case and now they say that he owes even more and an additional garnishment will begin in December 2012, taking away his son’s Christmas, unless he can prove otherwise. For Jeremy the first few years home were extremely stressful especially with the loss of his health and record keeping was the last thing on his mind. Moreover, a letter to President Obama pleading for help in this matter has resulted in a canned letter which did not pertain to his concerns. After 12 years of service, Jeremy feels abandoned by his country in his time of need. Family and friends are trying to help with donations and fundraising but this has been difficult in a rural setting. On September 1st, Jeremy decided that he would raffle off his Honda Fury Motorcycle but in this economy $50 is a lot of money. The Clinton County Veterans Service Agency has been trying to assist along with the guys from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora for whom he once worked. Jeremy is a strong man who refuses to quit despite these hardships. He is currently taking college classes, as his health permit, to obtain a degree in the Social Sciences so that he may help other Veterans, like himself, who are experiencing PTSD. I’m hoping that Jeremy’s story inspires you to pay-it-forward and give from your heart to help someone who has sacrificed much to defend our freedoms.
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