Wounded Warrior Receives Help
When Army veteran Douglas Dobson returned from his final deployment to Iraq in October 2008, his prospects in the civilian world were bleak. “I didn’t have a job that I came back to -- pretty much nothing,” he said of his arrival in Oklahoma City.
That’s why he was so grateful to find Operation Homefront, thanks to a referral from his local VA. At the time Dobson sought assistance, Oklahoma did not have a field office as it does now. Even in states that don’t have local offices, Operation Homefront finds ways to help veterans and military families in need. Those cases are referred to a national case worker, as Dobson’s was.
“Operation Homefront is proud to provide assistance in all 50 states,” said Amy Palmer, COO for Operation Homefront. “We understand fully that needs don’t always occur near a military installation or in the states where we have a local presence.” Dobson was pleasantly surprised to receive an offer to help within a day of his request. “I got a call, and I was surprised how quick they did it,” he said. “They helped me out on the rent within a few days. That was a good job.”
It’s the organization’s policy to respond to a call for assistance within 24 to 48 hours, Palmer said. “Our goal is to identify the immediate needs, determine how we can help in the short term but also provide solutions that will be helpful long term,” she said. “Through the efforts of dedicated volunteers and the emphasis our leadership has placed on fulfilling our mission, we are able to make a difference quickly.”
Dobson had survived an explosion in Iraq with damaged hearing, back injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. He kept quiet about his problems while he served on active duty. “I didn’t say anything till I came home,” he said. “I didn’t want to be the kid to go home early. I toughed it out and got home.” A faulty memory has plagued him through jobs he’s held briefly since his return. “That’s one reason why I kind of lost my other job,” he said. “When I came back about eight months ago, I couldn’t remember certain stuff. They said that I just made too many mistakes, but I don’t believe that.”
After his 2008 discharge, Dobson moved into a house with a friend. But after the friend died, he was evicted. With help from Operation Homefront, he secured a new apartment and was able to pay his rent.
His case is similar to thousands of others Operation Homefront has worked. “Every day, military families across the country are facing financial crises brought on by deployment or injury recovery,” Palmer said. “Through the help of our donors and corporate partners, we are able to answer that call with confidence knowing we can make a difference.”
Now that he has a safe and affordable roof over his head, Dobson is looking to the future. “I’m hoping to make it big one day, and I’d like to give back,” he said. “Everybody needs help once and a while.”