When Sarah Nutt contacted DAV (Disabled American Veterans) last May, she hoped her husband, Air Force veteran Gary, would qualify for much-needed additional compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs. DAV is a nonprofit organization that helps more than one million veterans receive life-changing benefits each year.
In the years after Gary left his job due to illness, the financial situation had become so bleak that Sarah regularly cut her hair to cut costs. She rarely had money for extra food or gas. And medical and dental insurance was a luxury they couldn’t afford. “There was no money for anything other than the bare necessities,” Sarah said. “That’s why we were reaching out so desperately.”
But she didn’t know that DAV helped the family earn much more than the $ 150 per month they had hoped, significantly increasing Gary’s VA rating and even linking his daughter Sadie to educational benefits for her eligible dependents. .
Years ago Gary had the opportunity to travel to Germany, Spain and the Philippines to see the world as an aircraft electrical and environmental systems mechanic. But it was his service in the Persian Gulf War that ignited a medical mystery.
After spending a little over six months at King Abdulaziz Air Force Base in Saudi Arabia, Gary began experiencing excruciating headaches while serving at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas. “I bent over to open up my locker on base, and after standing up, I had a splitting headache,” said Gary, a lifetime member of DAV episode 7 in North Little Rock, Arkansas, “the worst I’ve ever experienced in my life,” said the doctors. it was a sinus infection, but the medications they offered were providing no relief.
Difficult Times in Transition
“They gave me some pills that didn’t work, so I went back and they gave me more pills that didn’t work,” Gary added. “Nothing really helped.” Moments of intense suffering continued after Gary left the Air Force, prompting doctors to temporarily remove part of his skull in hopes of ending the pain. Soon after, he started having seizures. Over the years, Gary’s symptoms got worse.