Florida Veteran Helped
Army Lt. Col. Kathy Champion was an Army Reservist and school teacher. She commanded an all-male civil affairs unit in Iraq. She was tough. She was smart. She was a Bronze Star recipient. She was at the top of her game.
When she returned home to Florida after her deployment, her life quickly began to crumble. She was honorably discharged, but then began to fight for her life in a battle against multiple sclerosis and post-traumatic stress disorder.
She could no longer work. Some days, she could no longer move. She was out of a job and spent months living on her savings. Soon she was out of money, too, and days away from losing her home.
Then she found Operation Homefront-Florida. The chapter paid Champion’s rent and her car payment. They brought her food and a computer.
“I was flabbergasted,” Champion said. “They said, ‘What do you need … don’t worry. We’ll take care of it. ’ Had Operation Homefront not been there, I would have probably ended up going on the streets.” Today, Champion still struggles physically. She’s completely lost her vision in her left eye and has only partial sight in her right. Her ailments have taken her ability to drive, but the personal drive she had as a commander on the front lines has return.
With Operation Homefront’s help, Champion has bounced back from the brink. Her retirement pay finally begins this fall after months of waiting in limbo for her paperwork to be processed.
She’s beginning the process to return to school via online classes with the computer Operation Homefront provided, outfitted with special equipment to help with her diminishing eyesight. She thinks she wants to be a marine biologist.
She’s made spreading the word abou t the good works of Operation Homefront her new mission. She’s volunteered to speak about her story. She’s begun recruiting friends to volunteer at Operation Homefront events.
“You’ve got to pay it forward,” Champion said. “It’s the little things that count big. What they did was humongous for me.”