As 2017 begins to wind down and I think of how much we have impacted the lives of so many Veterans who have come our way this year, I am humbled at the quality of support we have been able to provide because of your generous donations. I know I have said it many times, but it really is a partnership. Defenders of Freedom would not have the impact that we do for Veterans if it weren't for your generous support.
Last December, Jim was referred to me after he suffered a seizure and was unable to return to work. He was a Special Ops Soldier who did 3 tours in Iraq and 3 tours in Afghanistan. He decided to get out and got a job at the Post Office. Life was moving on for him until one day at work he had a seizure. He was not allowed to return to work until he was cleared by a doctor. He was on 80% disability, so he had some income coming in, but it was not even enough to cover rent, let alone for him to live on. We helped him with his rent for that month. Little did we know that we would end up covering his rent for the next 11 months. This happened because the VA couldn't find anything wrong with him, so his doctor would not rate him at 100% disabled, which would have qualified him for social security disability, nor would she release him to go back to work because he needed a certain amount of time to pass to make sure he wouldn't have another seizure. In true VA fashion, they put him on several medications, which helped cause him to go into depression. He ended up having another seizure about 4 months later. The VA still had no answers for him and prescribed even more meds. He kept asking the doctor to release him so that he could go back to work, but she wouldn't until he had gone a period of time without seizures. Meanwhile, we paid his rent over and again so that he and his son wouldn't have to sleep in his truck.
In September, he had 7 seizures in one day. The VA again increased his meds to try to control the seizures. After talking with him and his mom, who was terrified that she was going to lose her son (as was I), I got mad and took other action. From discussions I had with him, I believed that he suffered from a traumatic brain injury, but that had not been diagnosed by the VA. We were able to get him into alternative brain treatment at Revive Brain Clinic in Denver, Colorado. He spent three weeks going through their extensive diagnosis and treatment. He did very well with the treatment. He took his results back to his VA doctor, who then released him to go back to work, which he did the next day. He has been working ever since; seizure free and feeling like he had his life back again. He still takes anti-seizure meds, but they have been cut way back. He has thanked me so many times for believing in him and helping him. He believes that he would have been sleeping under a bridge had we not stuck by him, or he maybe not even being here.
Jim was a stellar Soldier... 6 tours. How could I not stand by him after he served so honorably? It wasn't his fault that he had a brain injury and seizures. Why our government doesn't take better care of them on this side of their service, I will never understand. Thank you for helping us be able to stand by him, give him hope and get him back to being productive. He is one of many we helped this year.
So far in 2017, we have helped 187 Veterans with $243,197.00 through our programs and emergency assistance. We have paid these amounts;
Hotels for homeless
These expenditures represent lives we have impacted in a very tangible way. Many of the gift cards we gave were for food purchases and children fed. Families staying together in their homes, warm and with utilities. Veterans given a reprieve for another 30 days. That reprieve gives them hope, and where there is hope they begin to believe things will get better, And it will. 22 Veterans kill themselves each day. We believe the hope we bring back to Veterans helps them from going down that dark hole.
As we look to 2018, Defenders of Freedom is going to continue to help with emergency financial assistance. We are also going to focus on helping more of the many Veterans we get who have undiagnosed and untreated traumatic brain injuries to receive the treatment they need. We believe it is foundational for their brains to be treated if they are going to function at their highest capabilities, whatever that may be. There are very effective diagnostics and treatments available for injured brain tissues, and we will help them get them.
If you are considering making a year end donation, I would ask you to please consider giving to Defenders of Freedom. We are in the trenches with the Veterans we serve, giving back to them as much as we possibly can. We cannot do it without your help. We strongly believe that they have stood in the gaps for our freedoms and deserve the best care when they get home. You can give on our website at
or send a check 320 Hwy 121, Suite 208, Coppell, TX 75019.
I wish you a blessed Christmas season and a prosperous New Year!
Donna Cranston, Founder and CEO