Castillo Dyer needed help.
The former U.S. Army computer machine operator had just moved into a new townhouse when mechanics discovered a brake line leak on the right side of his car.
Dyer had also worked as an auto mechanic until a car accident left him physically disabled and unable to work. The mechanics told him to do the job right, both brake lines would need to be replaced.
That’s when the Delaware Veterans Trust Fund stepped in to help.
“[Without the fund’s help,] things wouldn’t be going on the same way,” says Dyer. “It makes a big difference.”
The trust fund was established through state law in 2013 to serve as a reset button for veterans in a state of financial instability. In just the past three years, the fund has supported 271 veterans while contributing more than $270,000.
“The vast majority come out well—they’re community leaders,” says Dave Skocik, president of the Friends of Delaware Veterans, the primary fundraising arm of the trust fund. “There’s always, with any group, a small number of people who run into problems, often through no fault of their own.”
Since his accident in 1992, Dyer connected with Home of the Brave, where he is now part of the compensated work therapy program. His case manager put him in touch with the trust fund, which completely covered the car repairs.
“A lot of veterans today don’t know about these programs,” says Dyer. “They have to be clued in.”
The trust fund pays recipients’ bills rather than giving them money directly. Veterans are asked to provide proof of an honorable discharge, bank statements and outstanding bills. A committee decides which expenses the fund will cover. Veterans can only receive aid once.
“It doesn’t matter the amount, it’s the outreach,” says Skocik. “All these little things add up. I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more than those who protect us.”