Purple Heart Recipient, Sgt. Gonzales on the Realities of His Civilian Transition

May 15, 2017

Our partnership with Furnishing Hope has not only allowed us to help veterans heal at home, it has introduced us to wounded heroes with deeply inspiring stories. We’re sharing their tales of personal triumphs and trials in our Furnishing Hope blog post series, so you can learn more about these courageous, tenacious individuals and the lives they’re leading now.

Below is an essay from Purple Heart recipient, Sgt. Moises Gonzales on his transition to civilian life.

I’ve always admired the men and women who serve this country. They make a difference and sacrifice so much to ensure our safety. Brave police officers, firefighters and members of the military are true superheroes, and I knew from a young age that I wanted to follow one of those paths.

I grew up in a time of fear and uncertainty in America. The September 11 attacks happened when I was 13, and after witnessing the trauma and tragedy, I became determined to help protect my country.

I joined the army at the age of 18, and I knew right away that I was making the right choice. It was amazing to be making a difference, and every day was exciting.

I served my country for 10 years before I was medically retired at the age of 28, due to combat injuries I sustained. That event marked the beginning of a new chapter for me, and it was a strange and difficult time.

Because, in the army, everything was routine and all finances were taken care of, transitioning back to civilian life was a challenge. I didn’t have anyone telling me what I should do or which steps to take next.

Thankfully, I’ve been very blessed to have a loving family supporting me through this transition: two gorgeous little girls and my beautiful wife. Having them by my side gives me the motivation I need to get through each day. Providing for my family after retiring from the army, however, has not been easy.

We ended up moving to Victorville, CA because it was fairly affordable, but with bills looming and trying to figure out my next move, it was a stressful time. We had a place to live, but there were still so many things we needed in order to live comfortably. My wife and I were literally sleeping on the floor.

When we reached out to Furnishing Hope, our lives changed overnight. I am so very thankful to them for giving us the gift of a furnished home, which has not only offered physical comfort, but mental and emotional support, as well. Because of them, I feel like my family has everything they need now, and that is a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Before Furnishing Hope helped us, we didn’t have anyone over, as we were embarrassed by our lack of furniture. Now, we invite guests over proudly.

Furnishing Hope truly raised our spirits, and we appreciate everything they’ve done for us and for fellow veterans. They are proof that not all heroes wear uniforms. Those selfless, big-hearted individuals are my superheroes.

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