Rick had to grow up at a very young age. At 13, his mother kicked him out of the house and he spent his childhood fending for himself. When Rick got older, he settled into a job at an equipment rental yard. The owner's brother was a recruiter for the army and Rick decided to enlist. He was stationed in California and Panama handling logistics and supply transportation. When Rick returned home, he started working at a machinery shop.
One day he got a bad feeling that he needed to call home. "I get a call back: 'your grandmother was killed and your mom and stepfather are in the hospital,'" said Rick.
After helping his parents recover, tragedy struck again. Rick was injured at work and had to have spinal surgery to fuse several vertebrae. After his surgery Rick couldn't find work to support his wife and twin step-children, so he turned to his local veteran's assistance site for help. They provide him with much-needed groceries, and support.
Last year, they even provided a special Christmas celebration. "It was great," says Rick. "My wife was really surprised. We walked out of the [food pantry] with giant baskets of goodies and a Crockpot…we ended up leaving with four or five boxes full of stuff." Without the food pantry, their Christmas would have been a lot less joyful. "We probably would've just sat at home. Ramen noodles. Ham and cheese sandwiches, you know, it's kind of limited," said Rick.