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2019 Veterans Grant Winners

Posted on: August 1, 2019 by Edwards & Patterson Law

Our team at Edwards & Patterson Law deeply respects the service and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans.

To honor them, we have launched our Veterans Grant program. If you or a loved one served in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, please check out our Veterans Grant page to learn more about this exciting program.

We are proud to announce that we have chosen our two winners:

  • 1st Place: Christina
  • 2nd Place: Casey

 

1st Place

Gregory Billie, U.S. Army

Nominated by Christina Billie

 First I want to start off by saying thank you so much for what you’re doing for Veterans and thank you so much for the opportunity. My name is Christina Billie and I am married to a disabled veteran named Gregory. We have been married for almost 10 years now and have two incredible children together. We have a 5 year old son named Gavin and a 7 year old daughter named Nevaeh. Now that we got that out of the way, I can go into detail about this amazing veteran.

Gregory joined the United States Army straight out of high school in 2008. He was stationed at Fort Bragg as a 82nd airborne trooper for the first few years of his military career and that’s where we met in 2009. That same year he was called to a deployment in Haiti due to the traumatic events that happened there. He stayed there for almost a year to help with relief efforts for Haiti. Then upon returning home he was PCS’d to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. That is where we got married on October 22nd, 2010. In April 2010 we found out he would be deployed to Afghanistan for a year. The day after that, we also found out that I was pregnant with our first child. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to be there when our first child was born due to being deployed. That was definitely hard on him.

While deployed there, he went through some horrific events. His platoon was blown up and while he thankfully suffered minor injuries and mental injuries, one of his best friends almost died. He and another co worker had to carry him to the medical because his knee was blown off. He returned home when our daughter was 6 months old but he was never the same. We stayed stationed at Schofield until 2013 when he received PCS orders to return to Fort Bragg, NC. That same year we welcomed our second child into this world. It was actually very hard on him as the delivery didn’t go as planned. Upon awakening from my C-section I knew something was wrong. A few minutes later he was told to leave the room and I was rushed back for immediate surgery. I woke up three days later to them pulling a breathing tube out of my mouth with my husband sitting right next to me. It turned out that the doctor tore my uterus during my C-section so I was bleeding internally. After 12 pints of blood and life support, thankfully i was alive. Then two months later I was rushed to the hospital again. I ended up with an intestinal blockage due to scar tissue from my C-section. So yet again my husband had to take care of both of our children alone, while trying to come up to the hospital, as well as still go to work every morning at 6am. Again, thankfully after surgery and recovery I was okay.

After that he constantly complained about his feet being in pain, his headaches, the ringing in his ears, etc. Most of which started right after his Afghanistan deployment. In 2015 they decided to do foot surgery. After countless appointments and doctor’s the surgery didn’t work. So that same year they decided to med board him as he was no longer capable of being a paratrooper. After being med boarded out he decided to use his G.I. Bill to go to Universal Technical Institute to pursue a mechanical career. In 2016 he graduated from there.

He applied for tons of jobs every single day hoping to find one. After over a month of no call backs our family ended up evicted and had to move in with family. He was finally able to get a small part time job and we moved into our own home. After everything he went through he now works for Harley Davidson and absolutely loves it! I truly believe he deserves a grant because of everything he has been through and everything he has done just to make sure our family is okay. He would never do something like this because he is a man full of pride and does everything on his own without any help from family or friends.

He works so hard every single day, almost all day, through all his pain just so we can be taken care of. Sometimes he comes home and can barely move or walk from his pain. He also suffers from night terrors due to his time in Afghanistan and was just recently diagnosed with PTSD. Yet still pushes through every single day to get up and work for our family. He never gets to do anything for himself even though he deserves it. Mainly because everything he has goes towards our children or bills. Gregory is such an incredible man, father and husband. I wish i could give him the world and
more. But since I can’t, I decided to nominate him for one of these grants so he can finally do something for him! Even though he wouldn’t ask for himself, I know he would be so appreciative and grateful to receive a grant. He is a fighter, he is strong and he is extremely proud to have served this country and to this day he still says he would go back in if he could.

I’m sure many amazing veterans will be nominated for these grants, but if you find it in your heart to pick him I know he would be forever thankful.

I want to say thank you for taking the time and effort to read my essay. I also want to thank you again for this opportunity for my husband. It would honestly mean the world to me if he got picked but either way I’m extremely happy I got to share his story and his experiences.
 
 

2nd Place

Winner: Kacey Williams, U.S. Army

Nominated by Himenah Rah

I nominate Purple Heart Recipient, Ms. Kacey Williams for your 2019 Veteran’s Grant Essay Contest.

I’ve known Ms. Williams approximately 5 years. Kacey and I crossed each other paths during a tenure with a previous employer. We instantly found a connection and formed a strong bond upon learning of each other’s military service and similarities. Kacey’s journey however, was a lot more eventful than mine. She joined the United States Army to serve and protect her country. All while staying devoted to her promise and fulfilling her duty, Kacey was deploy to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi/Enduring Freedom (2003). During this time while out on a convoy mission, Kacey and a few of her comrades ran over an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) which exploded and overturned their vehicle.

Kacey was severely injured and spent a good amount of time in the hospital trying to recover from the injuries that she sustained while fighting for her country. Upon returning home, Kacey found herself down and hopeless. Walking around with permanent shrapnel in her back was a constant reminder of the accident that almost took her life. Kacey struggled to find a place back in the civilian life where things were no longer the same as she had left them.

After a couple of years of unexplained bad health, Kacey was then diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Lupus. Kacey spent months in the hospital due to this illness. It appeared that not many doctors in the Texas area knew how to treat Lupus. Now on oxygen for breathing problems, Kacey had to uproot back to Louisiana in order to seek proper treatment for her Lupus diagnosis. After many failed attempts for treatment, Kacey began to grow weak and hopeless. Her decline in health put her in a deep state of depression.

One day, Kacey decided that she had enough and that she would not let the detrimental parts of her Army career determine the rest of her or anyone else’s life. She decided to take a stance for all veterans who are suffering just like herself. Kacey realized that depression often leads to suicidal thoughts and acts. She began researching the amount of suicides among military veterans and realized that there were one too many.

Kacey knew that in order to make a difference, she had to start seeing things differently. She was able to find mental stability by participating in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). She soon found herself uplifted and determined. In and out of the hospital, back and forth to the doctor and with a recommendation to get a lung transplant, Kacey has yet to allow anything to stop her from making a difference for all veterans. Kacey started a campaign to pass the S.T.O.P. Act. (Suicide, Turndown, Ongoing, Prevention). This Act will ensure that all veterans receive proper counseling upon separation from their military service.

Kacey is aiming to reduce the amount of veteran suicides by bringing awareness to those who can make a difference…the lawmakers. Today, Kacey can be found walking around with her oxygen tank trying to convince others the importance of mental health and stability among military veterans. She has even gone as far as making an impromptu trip to Washington D.C. to make sure that she is being heard. Kacey has not been afraid to drop our President a few tweets from time to time in order to remind him of the importance of the S.T.O,P. Act. She will not stop until this is enacted.

Although I feel that no amount of money can show Kacey just how much she is appreciated, I think that this recognition is a good way to show it. Kacey’s selflessness and determination are the reason that she is so deserving of this award. Please visit Stopact.org to get a closer glimpse into the difference that Kacey is making. Kacey Cares!

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