Tony, Army Veteran
Tony is a U.S. Army Veteran who served just as the Vietnam War was ending. His cousin convinced him to enlist with him but was ultimately unable to pass basic training, leaving Tony on his own.
“I wasn’t one for giving up, so I said, ‘I’ll just do what I can do,’” he said.
After completing basic training in Ft. Leonardwood, MO, Tony was sent to Ft. Gordon, GA to train as a mechanic, and then on to Ft. Carson, CO for his first duty station.
Though his service was challenging in some ways, he served proudly, ultimately earning an impressive 2nd place in 1976 as Soldier of the Year on his post.
After he left the Army, Tony worked rebuilding computers, but soon after, he began to flounder. Eventually, he finished college and, “ultimately grew up and owned responsibility,” he said.
After his life stabilized, Tony secured gainful employment in Seattle at Boeing. When his mom’s health took a turn for the worse, he returned to Colorado Springs, where he’s been for the last seven years.
When COVID came along, it took a tremendous toll on Tony’s finances. Because he has multiple health problems, including COPD and emphysema, and has undergone a quadruple bypass, Tony is at high risk for COVID complications. When his call center job switched from working-from-home to in-person in November 2021, he had to quit so he wouldn’t get COVID, which would have rendered him incapable of taking care of his mom.
As a result, Tony fell behind on his rent. Even with his Supplemental Security Income and VA Disability, it was unaffordable. He found a part-time job but didn’t receive his first paycheck in time to catch up on the past due rent.
Tony reached out to Home Front Military Network, and connected with Amy, who he said was “awesome.” Amy helped him secure funds so he could catch up on his rent and stay in his home, and connected him with other partner agencies for assistance.
“Working with Home Front Military Network and being able to reach out to veteran-oriented groups made me feel like I’m glad I served and there are people out there to help,” Tony said. “It made me feel good. I don’t have to deal with hardships alone. If there’s a way, they will help.”
While Tony is still facing some challenges today, he said he is in a much better position.
“If I hadn’t gotten that assistance, there’s no telling where I would be,” he said. “Home Front gives you resources and information and trusted people to help find better employment. It goes a long way and puts you in a position where you don’t have to keep asking for help.”
Tony encourages other service members, veterans, and their families to not be too proud to seek assistance when they need it.
“There are organizations that want to share their appreciation for your service,” he said. “They understand the sacrifices veterans made and want to help.”