I am a very proud daughter of an Army veteran and truly feel blessed that I was raised in a military family. My father, Benny Conner, served in Operation Desert Storm in the early 90’s and it is because of him that I love and respect our country. Fortunately, for our family, my father came home alive and well but for other military families the tours of their loved ones end tragically. It is how we, as Americans, treat these families that is so very important to me and I strive to make a difference with every active member and veteran that passes through my office. I care about all of my clients but as a child of a service member I relate to the sacrifices these families face day to day.
I would never conceive of kneeling during the national anthem to protest injustices. During the national anthem, I proudly stand, salute our flag and almost always get choked up by the end. It makes me cry almost every time because I was taught to remember what those words mean every time you hear and sing the anthem. To me and I am sure many others, it isn’t just a song you hear before a football game, it is our country’s battle cry. It reflects the scars and bravery of our men and woman who serve and have served. You see, as a daughter who grew up watching my father and mother make sacrifices so that my father can serve this great country, I grew to understand the value of what being an American was and still is to me.
In addition, to my father’s services, many of my deceased relatives served as well. Including my grandfather, Lloyd Harlow and great-uncle, Kenneth Payne, who served in World War II. My grandfather survived his tour of duty but my great-uncle did not. My great-uncle Kenny who I never met earned his Purple Heart and laid down his life for this country. In my office, I have had the privilege to talk with many veterans who have also served one, two and sometimes three tours of duty. Whenever I get the pleasure of meeting a service member or veteran, I ALWAYS thank them for their service. It is the least I can do.
Fortunately, Congress is still allowing veterans who are 30% or more disabled and who obtained the majority of their debts while during active duty to be exempt from the means test. This is very beneficial for those who want to file chapter 7 and receive a discharge within 4 – 6 months.
Occasionally, helping those veterans get out of debt does not feel like I have done enough since some families rely on only the VA disability income to support their families. Supporting a family of 4-5 on less than $3,000 sounds unrealistic to me. In those situations, I always feel like I wish I could do more. Because of feeling like this, I have researched and found many programs that offer assistance to our military families and veterans that I have outlined below. My prayer is that one of these programs can help those families supplement their limited income when it is so desperately needed.
Financial Assistance Programs:
If you are a military member, veteran or military family member reading this, thank you for your sacrifice. God bless the United States of America and all who serve her.
Mary Pool is a shareholder of the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Montgomery and Opelika, Alabama. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Auburn University at Montgomery, and a Juris Doctorate from Faulkner University’s Jones School of Law. She has represented thousands of clients over her more than 11 years working in the bankruptcy field. Read her full bio here.