I am the daughter of a true American hero. He landed on Normandy as part of a combat engineering platoon. My Dad never really talked about the war until he began suffering from dementia. We have many, many pictures of him in England, Wales and later in France, Germany and Italy. When we asked which beach he landed on he would answer: "anyone who tells you they know which beach they landed on is a 'blankety blank' liar" (edited for publication!). He and the others he met up with began their journey through France, Germany and Italy by securing the town of Cherbourg.
When Al returned from the war, he met and married Lorraine and raised three kids in So Portland, Maine. His lost both his first born daughter and beloved wife to cancer nearly 30 years ago. He began struggling to remember thengs about 5 years ago. My children and I worked hard to keep him at home at long as we could, but we had to put him in the Veteran's Home in December 2013. I could no longer afford to pay to have people stay with him in his home when we weren't there. I tried for 4 years to get the VA to help us, but to no avail. Everyone kept telling us he 'didn't qualify for this, but you could apply for that'. I spent hours filling out the same paperwork over and over again, but the VA never approved him for any help - for anything.
In December, we began the process of getting him MaineCare, as we had spent everything trying to care for him at home. MaineCare was a long, ardous process, and we were turned down 2x even though it was obvious that since he only had $2100 per month coming in, he could never afford the $7500 a month cost of the Veteran's Home. After tons of paperwork and discussion, he was finally approved, but we were told we would have to pay for the 1st two months. We give the home every penny that he is paid every month, except for $70 which goes into a personal account so he can get his hair cut or go out to eat once in a while. I got the startling news that we would have to "discuss discharging him" on July 9th if I could not come up with the $8500 we owed the Maine Veteran's Home. I understand it is a business and they need to be paid to stay open, but really? The man walked through hell, literally, at 19 years old and you can't give me more time to pay the bill? I will pay every penny of it, as they are wonderful to my Dad. They treat him with the love and diginity he deserves, but as a public high school teacher and pastor, I don't have that kind of disposible cash lying around. And that's how this fund raiser was born.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for supporting and Al Hodgkins, an American hero - and my Dad.
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