By Jennifer Ortiz
HOWELL – Ken and Lucille Springer are asking members of the public to reach out with support for a military veteran from Howell who has been disabled since April.
The Springers are directors with American Recreational Military Services (ARMS).
Greg Petersen, who is a former reconnaissance trooper with the 3rd Brigade Reconnaissance Team, 1st Infantry Division, has been disabled since April following surgery to remove a tumor from his left foot. After some recovery time, he is scheduled to have a tumor removed from his right foot.
“I am service-connected disabled for the injuries I received,” Petersen said. “I was injured in service and I needed surgery to get rid of some scar tissue and tumors.”
Petersen said he has been out of work since undergoing surgery and he said although the Veterans Administration (VA) has granted him 100 percent disability on a temporary basis, he has not received any support to date.
“Meanwhile, he is out of work and not getting paid,” Ken Springer said.
Lucille Springer said Petersen, who is the father of a 1-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 9-year-old, has been through one battle after another. She said Peterson’s wife is battling a serious illness and cannot work.
“By the time the VA comes to help them, they can literally be out on the streets,” Ken Springer said.
Petersen said unfortunately, his story is not unique.
“It is a story that happens to a lot of veterans,” he said. “They should have had everything ready when I scheduled surgery, but one problem the VA has is that they do not actually start processing the paperwork until they have the surgical report.”
Petersen said he knows the VA is slow and he said he saved enough money to cover expenses for three months following surgery.
“I planned for 90 days at the maximum (to begin receiving disability). It should not have taken more than that,” he said.
Petersen said the Springers have been supportive and he said he has found several organizations that have been willing to help him and his family during this difficult time.
“But that should not have to happen. I went overseas, did my duty for the government and the government is really supposed to pick that up. Soldiers should not be suffering,” Petersen said. “We were literally down to no food in the house.”
Petersen said the current situation is a new and challenging experience for his family.
The Springers are asking for donations to help the family. As members of ARMS, a nonprofit organization that assists military personnel and their families with necessities, they focus on helping service members before, during and after deployment.
“We mostly send packages to our troops overseas,” Ken said. “A lot of the troops are coming back and falling upon hard times, some are ill and some are financially strapped.”
When the Springers heard about Petersen and his family, they decided to reach out in an attempt to help.
“We have been providing the family with food for several weeks. When we met with the family, we ascertained that they need more than food; they need financial assistance because they are on the verge eviction from their home,” Ken said.
“We got involved and sent a notice out to all of our friends and contacts to get folks to help financially. Food, paying the bills and keeping them in the home is the priority. We guarantee that 100 percent of the money received is going straight to that family,” he said.
Springer said anyone who wishes to make a donation to Greg Petersen and his family should make a note of that intended use with their donation, which may be sent to ARMS, 51 Polo Club Drive, Freehold, NJ 07728, Attn: Ken Springer. Questions may be directed to Springer at email@example.com
Petersen said he does not know how he will be able to repay the kindness and said, “They are not asking, but I am definitely going to do it somehow, someway.”