Magazine article VFW Magazine

Struggling Family Gets VFW Boost

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Struggling Family Gets VFW Boost

Article excerpt

VTW members and Posts demonstrating community service. By Janie Blankenship

Sponsored by Vermont American Tools, Unmet Needs has helped more than 1,000 military families.

When 1st Lt. Karen Hutchins found herself in a financial crisis in October 2006, she turned to VFW's Unmet Needs program.

Based in St. Louis, Mo., with the Army Reserve's 6025th Garrison Support Unit, Hutchins requested a transfer to Columbus, Ohio, for the school year.

Her husband, Michael Sr., stayed behind to maintain their Missouri home, while Hutchins moved to an apartment near Columbus with her two sons, Michael Jr., 17, and Joseph, 9.

The family had only recently moved from Ohio to Missouri, and young Michael had an opportunity for a scholarship if he finished his high school career at Harvest Prep in Canal Winchester, Ohio.

Hutchins said she was not going to let her son down, especially since he has a 4.1 grade point average and is a high jump star on the Harvest Prep track team.

But from the time the trio moved back, things did not go well. The civilian job she had been promised fell through, and her military pay was not being forwarded because the person responsible for payroll back in St. Louis was on vacation.

The $620 rent on the apartment came due, and Hutchins had spent all of her savings. She ran up her credit card bills paying the utilities and buying her children food and necessities.

"I didn't know what to do, so I went to the Franklin County Veterans Commission," said Hutchins, who has been in the Army Reserve for eight years. "They told me since I had not been at war they could not help me. …

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