COLD SPRING, KY (FOX19) - Dating back to their service in WWI, there are four million disabled american veterans in the US living today. Over a million of them get services from the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) every year. And they all have a unique story to tell.
“Without the DAV I don’t think he [Bob Schilling] would be here today,” said Connie Kinney.
Kinney is an employee with Disabled American Veterans in Cold Spring. She’s also the mom of a marine who got hurt in two separate explosions in Iraq in 2006.
“They said ‘your son’s been in an accident,’” remembers Kinney,"And your heart stops. Because I wasn’t there to take care of him. Even though he’s a man and he’s a marine, I’m still his mom."
Kinney’s son, Bob Schilling, returned to the states not feeling like himself.
“He went back out to California to Camp Pendleton where he stayed. But he suffered from severe headaches and things and he was never back to normal.”
Because Schilling got into some trouble, he was dishonorably discharged. That meant he had no military benefits.
“So he came home with his purple heart in hand and nothing. He had nothing,” explains Kinney. “He lived in my basement for about six months, in the dark because that’s all he had. So I was working here and I talked to somebody and they said ‘have him go and talk to our national service officer (NSO).’”
After some time, it was determined Schilling had a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, and that could have caused his problems that led to his discharge.
Eventually he received military benefits and was able to get help for his headaches, graduate college and start a family!
Kinney says without the DAV's help, she's not sure things would have turned out so well.
The DAV relies heavily on donations and that’s why the 5K Saturday is so important.
Bryan Lett is the Assistant National Communications Director with the DAV. He encourages everyone to come out to the run/walk Saturday. “Get involved with the community,” said Lett, “You might meet some friends there, you might find something else in life that you didn’t know you like to do which might be hopefully volunteer with veterans!”
Kinney hopes to see you there! “Our veterans have done so much for us and they’ve given up so much that it’s definitely worth it.”
If you would like to participate in the 5K, it is this Saturday at 9 a.m. starting and finishing in front of Great American Ballpark. You can find more information at this link.