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We take care of our own, TY ROOSTERTEETH

Update: 0820PST 11 AUG 2009
As of today, YOU, the RT Community, have helped raise, along with veterans groups and fellow service members, $850.00 towards the recovery of the remains of Raymond Aguilera. We still need more help! So please, don't give up now RT! Keep on linking this, getting the word out. This situation is repeating itsself all across America, and it's screwed! This country was founded on individuals acting together to shake the entire order of the world, let us honor that tradition and turn each small act into a cooperation for a greater cause. This isn't just one family you're helping, it's opening eyes to the fact that this situation was even allowed to happen in the first place. Open eyes watch out for each other, and maybe we can do something to stop this shameful trend from swallowing up any other families. THANK YOU ROOSTERTEETH!!!

Sorrow mixes with anger, as I sit here, far from home, trying to make at least my portion in recent times to fit some form of sense. My best friend and battle buddy, a woman who I've served through more Hell with than most people should ever have to dream about, let alone experience, is right now going through a horror that makes some of the bloodier moments of our shared history pale in comparison. Her son died friday, a victim of depression, bad judgement, and the toll that so many military families take without the media ever noticing. I've known this woman for well over a decade, I've watched her kids grow up, and the sudden tragic turn has me shaken to the core. To add insult to injury, she recently ETS'd, and no longer has any support system. Her case with the VA is tied up in their logistical version of Purgatory, and she was having a hard enough time holding things together when she still had the full support of the active military community behind her, let alone now, a wolf trying to fit in with the sheep. Right after getting out, her husband lost his job, which they had always thought was beyond the realm of possibility, and neither of them has been able to find employment since. They're on the verge of losing their home, and yet, she still, in her greatness of spirit, is supporting her two disabled brothers, one of them with spouse and disabled child, and had in fact, agreed for the boy who just passed away to come and live with her while he got through some recent tough times of his own.

Saturday, she was going to move him in. Thursday night, they spoke on the phone, and he expressed his gratitude and excitement at coming home. Friday morning, she called me up, with the news. At age 23, her child was dead. Her family life insurance wouldn't cover his funeral expenses, because he'd just turned 23 a few weeks before, and was deemed "independant." So damn independant he got himself killed in sheer youthful stupidity.

I've hardly ever moved out the door so fast, the moment I got that phone call. Lack of drivers license be damned, I was there. As I stood vigil with her, taking shot after shot in reckless disregard of propriety, liver function, or rationality, she burst into tears and choked out the words "I can't even pay to get his ashes back."

What the hell is wrong with America, that has abandoned her warriors so readily?

Well, I can tell you all one thing. It hasn't made ALL of us abandon our morals. To hell if I'm leaving my nephew's ashes in hock to some parasitic funeral parlour. The first thing I did was call my whole platoon (well, the survivors of my last platoon, that is) and gathered up donations via mailed checks, paypal, or personal drop off. Within 40 minutes, a bunch of broke ass drunk mechanics had garnered up 200 dollars, but we've got a helluva lot more to go. I contacted some local vets groups and veterans advocacy groups in the PNW, and there's been a number of other generous souls there who've stepped up and taken their part to ease the burden.

Bad enough her family is facing foreclosure, not being able to pay for the return of what should rightfully be hers, the remains of her child, is an indignity I will not stand by and allow. People talk about supporting veterans, well folks, it's situations like this, which are unfolding all across America. I'm not here trying to drum up funds, but if anybody wanted to contribute, be it in prayers, letters, regards, or contributions in memory of Raymond Aguilera, 1986-2009, feel free to message me. What I am asking is that this be linked to, that word be passed around. That a mother's anguish not be lost in the politics. I don't give a rats ass if you don't believe in what we've served with our lives for, I don't care if you're Republican, Libertarian, Democrat, or a sneering hyaena. We've dropped the ball on our pledge to take care of those who take care of us. Veterans like my friend have given their all. Three deployments later, she's got a family so broken that all the king's soldiers and all the world's duct tape and super glue can't put them back together again. The least that we can do is give her the means to recover what should be hers as a fundamental right, not a paid for privilege.

So please, link this. Mod it. Boost it. Get the word out. Because she's not the only one. Women veterans are the fastest growing percentage of homeless veterans . Families take more of a hit from deployments than merely losing their mothers, their fathers. They go through hells of stress that most civilians will never have to understand or experience. Her son could be one of your friends. Her son could be the child of any of us. We take care of our own, right?