Dani L.

My husband is a two-time combat veteran. As a result of his service, he now has multiple injuries, including PTSD and a brain injury. Since his return in 2008, my day-to-day life has been one battle after another - fighting to get him the proper discharge, fighting to get him his VA benefits, fighting to get him proper care, and fighting against the self-loathing and apathy that pulled him down so low that he couldn't see the point in trying to recover. As his caregiver, and the mother of two small children, it felt like I was all alone, that I had ceased to matter except in regards to the needs of others. While it was, in some ways, rewarding, it was also frustrating, depressing, and unbelievably stressful.

A friend recommended me to WWFS. I balked at first; my experience with non-profits serving the veteran community had been nothing but negative, and had never yielded any kind of measurable result. My husband does not have a Purple Heart. He declined it, for complicated reasons, and that has often led to organizations treating us as lesser or simply ignoring us altogether. I wasn't up to another fight that was going to end in disappointment, especially when the beneficiary wasn't my husband or children, but me. As I said, in my mind, I had ceased to matter as a person. However, my friend persisted, and I finally agreed.

From the very beginning, Wendy (the Respite Director) was wonderful to work with. She took the time to listen to my story - not just my husband's, but mine. She understood my stress, and asked the question : "What can I do to help you"? I'd heard it before. The difference is, this time, the person asking followed through.

Wendy spent a lot of time screening potential childcare providers, looking for someone that would fit the criteria we set, while also understanding my family's unique situation. She never recommended somone just to get the job done. She kept searching until we found the perfect person. As a result, I can now tend to my own health and take part in the counseling that I so badly need to help me deal with the stress that comes from caring for a wounded veteran. For the first time in five years, I have the kind of help and support that actually *helps*. The relief I feel is incredible, and I am immensely grateful for WWFS. This is exactly the kind of support that families like mine need. It provides real support, not lip-service or false promises. I feel incredibly blessed to have been helped this way. It means more than I can really say.

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But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31