Invisible Wounds Leave Marine in Need of Help
VFW Unmet Needs was there
September 04, 2012
Marine Cpl. Ricardo Aponte was honorably discharged
in 2009 after serving in Iraq. Though he looked healthy when he returned home,
he, like so many others returning from the battlefield, was carrying invisible
wounds with him, facing PTSD and depression.
Due to his medications and the severity of his
conditions, Aponte wasn’t able to maintain steady employment after being
discharged. He was also forced to put his education at the University of
Central Florida on hold while he sought help.
Without steady employment and with two pending VA
claims, his financial situation took a turn for the worse.
“I felt lost, ashamed, hopeless, out of luck and
angry knowing that due to my military service medical conditions I had to put a
stop on my educational and professional life. This meant taking a big hit
financially as my finances became more than worrisome,” explained Aponte.
His VA social worker referred him to some veterans’
organizations for help. That’s when Aponte learned about VFW’s Unmet Needs
He reached out to the Unmet Needs program and was
approved for financial assistance. The program provides aid in the form of
grants, so recipients need never repay it.
Aponte couldn’t believe it; it all seemed too good
to be true. “When I found out I was going to be a recipient of an Unmet Needs
grant I was a bit skeptical,” he said.
That changed when he saw
the proof. He received assistance for a car payment and to help cover daily
expenses. “I fell to my knees and cried for about 15 minutes straight. I
felt a big weight lifted off my shoulders. I was happy, tearful, anxious
and surprised all at once.”
He said his experience with the Unmet Needs program
was wonderful, giving them a “10 out of 10.”
Through everything, Aponte remains hopeful he’ll be
able to return to school in the spring “At the end of the day, I don’t know
what will happen with my VA appeal and new claim. For now I try to focus
more on my medical treatments and therapies, so one day I can regain part of my
To learn more about
VFW’s Unmet Needsprogram and other VFW
National Military Services programs, click here.
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