Moving in a New Direction: The Staelens Family New Life at OH Villages Bethesda
On June 21, 2012 Army Spec. Joshua Staelens moved his family into Operation Homefront Villages Bethesda, MD. When most people think of moving they imagine a stressful time but for the Staelens family this move was different.
In 2007, Joshua was medically discharged from the Army and sent on his way with no retirement pay and limited veterans’ benefits. The Army and the VA could not agree on the disability percentage rating he should receive. He has been suffering from the aftermath of war by dealing with PTSD, sleep apnea and other ailments. Joshua lives with constant pain in his leg from the shrapnel embedded in his flesh. Doctors are afraid to remove the metal bits for fear the surgery would do more damage. The family of four was left scraping by on whatever part-time work he could find. Meanwhile, Joshua is in the appeal process to re-examine his disability benefit claim.
When OH Villages Bethesda called with the news of a vacancy the Staelens were thrilled. They would have a place where they could live, stress free while Joshua put his career and life back together. In the past two months that they have lived at the villages, Joshua has been able to go to the VA hospital more to get the treatment he needs for his recovery. He has also been contracted through Paragon Systems to work for the Department of Homeland Security as a security guard and is in the process of completing his 60 day training program. The family is receiving financial counseling to help them pay off debt and start saving. The family hopes to one day return to Florida and Joshua will be able to do a full job transfer.
“Living at the village has helped to relieve a lot of stress for me and my family. We are saving money, planning for our future and I am getting the help I need to recover. I am truly thankful for the support we have at the village and all the hard work Operation Homefront does to support veterans.”