Local car dealerships lend a helping hand for veterans - KCTV5

Local car dealerships lend a helping hand for veterans

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Celebrating the Fourth of July is more than just about fireworks, it's a chance to say "thank you" to the military for their service.

One local program is showing their support for veterans by helping them when they need it the most.

Right now, Specialist Calvin Garlington enjoys spending quality time with his boys, but his road to recovery from injuries he sustained in the war in Iraq have been anything but fun and games.

"I have two shoulder injuries, a lower back injury, a knee injury, diagnosed with PTSD. My hearing is going out in my left ear right now," Garlington said.

Garlington was injured in a roadside bombing in Iraq in December 2008. He hasn't been able to work since then and his bills were mounting as he waited for his Veterans Affairs benefits to kick in. It was at that time that he turned to the Unmet Needs program for help.

"My electric bill, I was in a crunch to where it was getting close to being shut off. They (the program) paid it the full balance for me - they set me up on the budget billing plus car payments and auto insurance. They also gave me a gift card to afford diapers and wipes for my son so it helped out a lot," Garlington said.

"2,800 homeless veterans are in KC each night and that's an alarming number, a scary number, we need to do what we can to reduce that number," Larry Carl, the vice president of the Automobile Dealers Association of Kansas City, said.

So, for the first time this year, 85 new car dealerships in Kansas and Missouri who belong to the Automobile Dealers Association of Kansas City decided to raise money for the Unmet Needs program for a very simple reason.

"It's important to help the people in our hometown," Carl said.

As Garlington continues to receive mental and physical treatment for his injuries, he said he's grateful for the support he was given.

"There are a lot of soldiers and airmen marines right now that, I'm pretty sure, that when they are done with military career and get out, things are going to be tough for them as well. And this program is very helpful," Garlington said. "I think people should donate and do what they can to help military veterans out.

For more information on the Unmet Needs program and how to donate, click here and click here

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