Submitted by: USA Cares, Inc.
Categories: Philanthropy & Corporate Contributions
Posted: Jan 22, 2008 – 10:59 PM EST
3,351 MILES AND -24 Degrees
3,351 MILES AND -24 Degrees
BARROWS, AK - January 22, 2008 - SPC Sanchez, of the Alaska National Guard, returned home to Barrows Alaska from Iraq in November of 2007 where the temperatures, at times, had soared above 120o . His hope was that he, his wife, and his five children would return to a normal life. While he survived Iraq, the Alaskan winter was waiting.
"I got back to find out that my promised job was gone, and it is always hard to find work in the winter here in Barrow” Sanchez said. Just to add to his challenge of supporting his family during a harsh Alaskan winter, the home furnace gave out, reducing them to heating their home with a small heater in one room. Adding to their difficulty, the hot water heater and toilet lines froze from the lack of heat and became broken. The outside temperatures dropped to -24o below with a wind-chill that made it feel like -40o.
The family began contacting organizations and agencies that might assist them. With costs reaching $3,000, including parts for the furnace that had to be flown into this northern most American community, Sanchez was persistent and searched the Internet ending up at Military One Source. There he learned about an organization in Kentucky that helped military families with grants and support with quality of life issues worldwide.
That is when USA Cares got involved. Senior Resource Coordinator Cecelia Jeffery, after nearly 3,000 clients, had thought she had seen it all, but this, a family of seven surviving in the Alaskan cold, not to have a home furnace in the winter was more than she thought this returning Veteran should have to handle.
Phone calls reaching out to other veteran support organizations began, but were followed by disappointment, as she worked her way through the case. Reason after reason was given by other organizations as to why they were unable to assist USA Cares in putting this family back in a warm home.
That is when long time teammate VFW "Unmet Needs" was called. After Cecelia explained the situation, their director put the request in 'fast forward' and between the two organizations, in a matter of less than three days, brought it all together.
Cecelia had contacted the local heating company, Barrow Mechanical, who after hearing the story discounted the cost, and agreed to honor a promise from USA Cares completing the installation of the new heater the next business day. Cecelia continues to look for resources to pay for an additional debt of $1,900 for the now repaired water heater and toilet.
This story has an ending, and for the Sanchez family, it was warm conclusion. A thank-you to Borrows Mechanical for trusting this organization over 3000 miles away, and for USA Cares, it is a continuation of the commitment made to military families wherever they might be located.
About USA Cares
USA Cares is a world wide charitable organization serving military service members and their families of all ranks and branches with direction and advice along with grant assistance for quality of life issues caused by military service. USA Cares has received requests from thousands of service members and families with millions of dollars in organizational and found resources. USA Cares, in partnership with The Homeowners Preservation Foundation, has also saved military homes from foreclosure across the nation. Learn more about USA Cares by visiting www.usacares.us.
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