God Bless Our Military and Their Families
The Military Spouse Resource
Center (MilSpouse.org) is
designed to assist the spouses
of the total U.S. Military force
To raise awareness and enlist
the public’s aid for the needs of
severely injured service men
To help severely injured service
members aid and assist each
To provide unique, direct
programs and services to meet
Since the onset of the war in Iraq on March 20, 2003, we find that a few
things are painfully true. The loss of life has been catastrophic, the
amount of resources to fund this war have gone through the ceiling
and the lasting results of those injured (whether mentally, emotionally
or physically) are permanent. Families have been ripped apart, some
have been strengthened, but all have been affected. I will not pretend
to know how it feels to say goodbye to a husband, wife, son, or
daughter, father or mother as they leave to fight a war that few of us
understand or agree with. I will not pretend to know how it feels to sit
and wonder if you will ever say hello to that loved one again, afraid to
answer a knock at the door or answer the phone in the wee hours of
the morning. I can only imagine.
I remember back in '05 when my sister prepared to say goodbye to her
husband as he packed his gear to leave and perform his duty to his
country in Iraq. I will never forget the countless hours we spent
reassuring her that he would return, but never really knowing for sure if
we spoke the truth. We prayed as a family that he would not become
the victim of a suicide bombing. We prayed that his life would not be
taken as he sat down to eat by a snipers bullet. We asked God to
protect him as he rode along the streets of the war ravished cities,
praying that his vehicle would not roll across a bomb. Our family was
blessed, my brother-in-law returned, safe and physically unharmed,
but I am sure he carries with him memories that none of us can
We pray for those who were not so fortunate as to return home
emotionally and physically whole. We pray for the young men and
women who may never walk again, run with their toddlers again or be
able to hold their spouses in their arms again. We pray for those who
will forever carry scars, souvenirs of a war that has lasted too long and
cost too much. It has cost us as a nation that which money cannot pay
for, the loss of precious life and the destruction of dreams.
Help us to lift up our troops and their families in prayer. Make a daily
commitment to pray for their safety and their well-being. Pray for
mothers, fathers, wives, children, brothers, sisters and the list goes on
and on. We, as a nation of Believers should never forget the price that
has been paid by these brave men and women who fight for us. You
may not have a name to whisper up, but it doesn't matter. God knows
the name, rank, and serial number of every person fighting for us.
|We have listed some websites
that you may find helpful if you
are in the military or a family
Operation Homefront provides
emergency assistance and
morale to our troops, to the
families they leave behind and to
wounded warriors when they
return home. A nonprofit
501(c)(3), Operation Homefront
leads more than 4,500 volunteers
in 30 chapters nationwide and
has provided critical assistance
to more than 45,000 military
families in need.
As a volunteer-led nonprofit,
we have over 20 different
teams and programs
supporting all branches of the
U.S. Armed Forces. We send
letters, care packages, and
comfort items to the deployed,
and we support their families
here at home. We also provide
assistance to the wounded,
continuing support for
veterans, remembrances and
comfort for families of the
fallen, and immediate
response to unique difficulties.
The Word For Women Network An Interactive Ministry
Concerns grow as more veterans end up on the street
By LINDSAY WISE
Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle
July 19, 2010, 1:27AM
Jacobí Montgomery wound up sleeping on the sidewalk outside a bus station in Beaumont less than
six months after being discharged from the Army.
The 28-year-old Iraq war veteran's sole possessions consisted of the white and blue striped pajamas
he wore, a pair of ratty white tennis shoes on his feet, and a wooden cane he'd been issued by the
Department of Veterans Affairs following knee and shoulder surgery.
"I had family telling me it was my fault I was homeless, but who would choose to be homeless?"
Montgomery said. "Sometimes I feel like the battle I had with my family and the military was worse than
Iraq. Because you come home thinking you'll be welcomed with open arms and you get shunned … It's
like a kick in the face."
Iraq and Afghanistan veterans like Montgomery are turning up on the streets faster than those who
served in previous wars, often within 18 months of returning home. Last year, 2,566 Iraq and
Afghanistan veterans sought help through VA homeless program services nationwide.
In Houston, where an estimated 3,500 veterans make up about 30 percent of the homeless
population, local veterans advocates also say they've noticed an increase in Iraq and Afghanistan
veterans who find themselves on the brink of homelessness.
"We didn't have the number of homeless Vietnam veterans that we have (now) overnight, and the fear
is that we may reach those numbers in a few years, that we're going to repeat history," said Oskar
Gonzalez-Yetzirah, Iraq and Afghanistan veteran coordinator for the nonprofit U.S. VETS-Houston.
'We're going to see more'
Gonzalez-Yetzirah said the number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans living in Midtown Terrace, a
housing facility run by U.S. VETS on Main Street, went from zero last year to 10 this year. Many had
failed to find work in the weak economy or fell into legal and financial straits while struggling with
substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, or traumatic brain injury.
"I think down the line, after they've done two tours, three tours, and either don't go back or can't go back,
then I think we're going to see more," said Lynda Greene, community director of the DeGeorge at Union
Station, another housing facility for veterans in downtown Houston.
Montgomery served in Iraq from 2006-'07 as an Army specialist and was discharged in January 2009.
But his reunion with loved ones in Beaumont didn't go the way he'd imagined.
"When I get back I'm all amped up," he said. "I kinda clashed with my family a lot."
Childhood friends told him he had changed. They didn't know how to relate to him any more.
"I still felt like I was the same person I was before I left, but I wasn't," Montgomery said. "I'd never been
really short-tempered, but when I got back, even the littlest things annoyed me."
He enrolled in massage therapy school, but GI Bill benefits didn't kick in right away. He looked for work
but found nothing. He ended up at his mother's house, sleeping on a yoga mat.
The breaking point
One day in July, the electricity had gone out and the food in the fridge spoiled. Montgomery spent the
day cleaning, doing laundry and mopping floors. His mother got home from work, he said, and they
argued, as they often did, over something trivial.
"She started yelling at me and getting in my face," Montgomery said. He said he remembers her
bumping him on his way to take out the trash. He freaked out.
"I've never blacked out like that before," he said. "I heard a distant voice. My friend was like, 'Jacobí,
that's your mom, that's your mom!' "
He came to his senses and realized his mother was on the floor. He'd hit her. She called police, who
hauled him to jail in his pajamas.
"I do hold a lot of stuff in like that, but I don't get that mad like that," he said. None of it seemed real.
Montgomery spent four days in jail. When authorities released him, he had nowhere to go.
"I couldn't go home without a police escort," he said. "My mom didn't want me there."
GIs know how to walk
Montgomery decided to walk from the jail in Port Arthur to the Salvation Army in Beaumont. His knees
gave out three times, but he limped on from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., his trek broken only by a fitful attempt to
rest on the sidewalk outside the bus station. When he rolled over and saw a roach, he made himself
get up and keep going.
"People looked at me crazy," Montgomery said. "I would never have been caught dead in the street in
my pajamas. I had so much going through my head: 'Where will I go? Who can I depend on? What can
I do to better myself?' "
At the Salvation Army, he changed out of his pajamas and into an outfit he ended up wearing for a
week: a pair of Express jeans and an American Eagle button-down.
He soon ran into a friend, who offered to give him a ride to Houston, where Montgomery could stay with
a mutual friend for a few days.
At the VA in Houston, Montgomery met Gonzalez-Yetzirah, a fellow Iraq war veteran who helped him find
an apartment at the DeGeorge at Union Station. Montgomery was diagnosed with post-traumatic
stress disorder, depression, sleep apnea and insomnia. He started receiving treatment and enrolled
in therapy with veterans to learn how to manage his PTSD, anger and anxiety.
Now Montgomery leads fellow veterans in a peer support group and teaches computer classes at the
U.S. VETS service center. He's making some money working for Herbalife, a nutrition company. Some
day, he said, he'd like to go back to school for theater arts. Before enlisting in the Army, he trained as a
dancer — tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, salsa.
"What I'm really trying to do is take care of myself," he said.
Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7114134.html#ixzz1OFwBvdVa
Iraq war veteran Oskar Gonzalez-Yetzirah,
center, leads a support group for PTSD
sufferers. The sessions are among the
services offered by the nonprofit U.S.
VETS-Houston at Midtown Terrace, a military
outreach housing facility on Main Street
Jacobí Montgomery leads a support group for
other veterans at Midtown Terrace. After his
time on the street, Montgomery got help at the
VA in Houston and found an apartment and a
job with a nutrition company. He tries to give
back at the U.S. VETS service center
For veterans, there are a few
government assistance options
designed for just such a purpose.
Through the government funded Aid
and Attendance pension benefit,
veterans can qualify for economic
assistance. Designed to help aging
veterans and their spouses, this
program can offset many of the
major assisted living expenses.
Watch this eye opening, heart breaking
documentary concerning the real life problems
that face our veterans on a day by day basis.
These men and women have risked everything
that they had, including their lives, to insure that
we are able to enjoy the freedom that we so
often take for granted. Yet, upon the completion
of their individual assignments, many of them
return home to nothing. Too many of our
veterans are homeless, living in shelters and
scraping for a meager existence on the
streets...it is heart breaking. Please watch this
film with the resolve to get involved and make a