The Garner Family
Every morning Sergeant Michael Garner wakes up with blood on his pillow, a constant reminder of the shrapnel and gunshot wounds he suffered in April 2004 while on his second deployment to Iraq. Ever since a six-inch piece of shrapnel was removed from Garner’s chest, doctors have been unable to stop the source of the internal bleeding that causes Michael to cough up blood on a daily basis. The 33-year-old supply specialist must also contend with depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and anxiety as the result of witnessing the violent death of three members of his company. They were riding with Garner in his humvee when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device (IED). In 2007 after Garner had successfully completed a third deployment to Iraq, he was sent to Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) for treatment. Testing has been ongoing. Doctors have not been able to accurately diagnose or alleviate Garner’s primary injury. Garner was recently medically retired from the Army with a 100% disability rating. Garner, who is currently waiting to receive his Veteran’s Affairs benefits, has been unable to work and as a result has accumulated a mountain of debt. Before coming to Operation Homefront Village – San Antonio, Garner felt hopeless and overwhelmed by his mounting debt. Thanks to Operation Homefront and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust, Garner, his wife Tanya and their newborn now have a rent-free fully furnished apartment to call home. Boeing’s corporate sponsorship also provides funding for utilities, Internet access, cable TV and telephone service. Garner is currently working with a financial counselor, provided by OH Village, on reducing and paying off his existing debt. A career coach provided by OH Village is also helping the Garners identify and secure jobs they can do from home. Once Garner’s health is fully restored he hopes to start a new life for his family in San Antonio, Texas.