The American Red Cross contacted the Dixon Center Community OneSource in Southern Ohio on behalf of a local woman, with a heartbreaking story, asking for assistance from Operation Veterans THRIVE. The caller cared for her orphaned nephew, a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, as if he was her own son. After an honorable discharge, the young man returned to Afghanistan as a civilian contractor educating Afghan security forces. A month before he was scheduled to return home to see his newborn son, he was killed by a suicide bomber. Even though his aunt served as his surrogate mother, neither the Army nor the civilian company for whom he worked for would provide her with travel assistance to attend the funeral.
While numerous organizations have been established to assist veterans and their families, these organizations usually restrict assistance to immediate family members. Although she had stepped into the role of mother, the veteran’s aunt was technically ineligible to obtain financial assistance.
Community OneSource personnel contacted more than 30 organizations in an attempt to obtain financial assistance, but it seemed as if no one could help. Finally, Community OneSource Specialists found a local organization that provided financial travel assistance. The week following the funeral, she called Community OneSource to express her gratitude and to let them know that the funeral service was beautiful and provided her with some small measure of solace.