Operation Homefront Donates Home To Vet Now Serving as Fireman and Paramedic
Operation Homefront and Chase
were honored to donate a mortgage-free home to an outstanding veteran who continues in public service as a paramedic and fireman. Army veteran Donald Gulas, receive his new home as part of the Homes on the Homefront program.Read his inspiring story:
Army veteran, Donald Gulas has done a lot to serve his country and the people he cares about. After spending ten years in active duty, and another ten years in the reserves, he still protects his community by working as a fire fighter and paramedic. Being there for his family is his most important goal, though not always the easiest.
Don has always been a patriot at heart. When he was enlisted in active service during the 1990s he was stationed in places like Germany, Bosnia, and Kuwait. Don was at the forefront as the Army worked on integrating tracking technology into battle environments. After performing his duty abroad, he was stationed back in Colorado. As technology was getting integrated more heavily into combat situations, his duty as an instructor became much more vital to the war effort.
It was while he was stationed in Colorado that he met his wife, Jennifer, and they ended up having their first child, a son. Gulas remained in the Army reserves for another ten years traveling the country, and training younger troops in the skills they would need abroad. However, after their baby daughter was born, he decided to settle down and make raising his two children his top priority.
It was a miracle that his daughter, Taylee, actually survived the birth. Taylee was born with an extremely rare condition called Valter Syndrome that precluded her trachea and esophagus from separating while she was developing. Only three hospitals in the country were specialized enough to treat this condition, and fortunately one was close to home in Chicago.
After another ten years of being active in the reserves, Don was forced to retire from military service in 2009 due to medical issues related to diabetes, and with his family, relocated to Illinois. In order to support his family, he followed his life-long dream of becoming a firefighter and paramedic. The transition was not easy. His veteran benefits were diminishing, and he was seriously injured in a car accident that left him unable to work for nearly half a year. During this time he was still trying to care for his family while going back and forth to the hospital for his daughter’s care. Don persevered, but the aftermath of his situation left him struggling to make ends meet.
His daughter requires 24 hour in-home care from a nurse, and Don works long shifts as a fireman protecting his community. Meanwhile, their rental house is falling apart around them and making it hard for the family to stay healthy. Taylee never complains, has surpassed all expectations and is leading a relatively normal life. Their living conditions, however, make it a challenge for her, her brother, and her parents.
The Gulas family is a humble one. They never take anything for granted, and they always keep a positive outlook on life. Don honorably served his country for over 20 years. He even helped organize events in Illinois such as the well-known “Freedom Fest” to get local communities to combine their efforts in support for the troops and their families. He continues to put his life on the line as a firefighter in his community, and he continues to fight for his daughter. For her, and the Gulas family, every day is a miracle.