I served in the United States Navy as an aviation electrician working on F-14 and F/A-18 aircraft. One Sunday, while stationed at Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 4, I stood a flight line watch. Normally it is a very boring job walking along the parked aircraft, this time it wouldn't be so boring.
I noticed an F-14 taxi toward me, it was coming in from a cross country flight. As it came closer I observed smoke coming from the left main landing gear. This in its self isn't that unusual, it is a result of hot brakes caused by the pilot applying too much pressure on the brakes. I didn't realize it, but there was also a hydraulic leak. The hydraulic fluid was pouring down on the hot brakes and ignited. The whole back of the plane was engulfed in flames by the time it reached our flight line. The plane had 5 PHOENIX missiles under it's belly and they were already turning black from the flames as I was approaching the aircraft with a huge fire extinguisher that was mounted on two large wheels. Suddenly, the pilot shut the engines down spewing the unused fuel out causing a fireball. For a split second I was totally engulfed in flames. Fortunately, I was wearing my helmet and only received minor burns. I extinguished the fire and got the pilot and the RIO out and all was well, except the plane didn't look so good. My evaluation after the F-14 Fire, Evaluation page 2 2nd page, section 56, 8th bullet point CNAP is the Commander of Naval Aviation for the entire Pacific Fleet.
Twenty years later I started having dreams about the fire, only in my dream the missiles blew up and then I wake up in cold sweat. I started going on drinking binges so I would pass out and not have any dreams. This went on for several years before I got help and was diagnosed with PTSD. Since then I have dedicated my life to serve veterans by helping them with their housing needs.
There is a program called VASH (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) for veterans who are having trouble coping. They go through a process that helps them adapt to living life as a civilian. After they have successfully completed the program they are provided housing assistance if needed. This is where I come in. I help all veterans find a rental home or help them purchase a home using their VA loan. I especially concentrate on helping vets who are in the VASH program.
This is where I need your help:
There is a new organization called VAREP (Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals) they advocate for reform on policies that affect military and veteran financial literacy, home ownership and legal protective rights. They also educate Realtors on the programs that help veterans with their housing needs. VAREP is having an inaugural Policy Conferance in Washington, D. C. on June 8th Http://varep.net/2014conference is the link to learn more about the conference. In order for me to provide my veteran clients the best possible service in helping them with their housing needs it is imperative that I attend this conference. Normally, I could afford to take care of the cost of attending the conference on my own, however, this has been a difficult year for me. February and March were especially difficult, my uncle, who was a Korean war veteran died Uncle Gene's Obituary then my causin who lives in southern Illinois died My causin Charlie's Obituary shortly after that my aunt died Aunt Colleen's Obituary. Three trips accross the country to attend three funerals in less then a month drained me emotionally and financially. Also, since I work on a commission basis I hadn't been home to earn anything for a month. There isn't paid leave when your on commission. So you see, I could really use your help so I can better help those who served us.