Charity helps disabled veterans get back into the workforce

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by CRAIG CIVALE

WFAA

Posted on May 30, 2012 at 10:49 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 30 at 11:13 PM

GRAPEVINE - It's hard to wipe the smile off the face of Timothy Poe. He greets you with a handshake and makes you feel welcome, just like the Defenders of Freedom have welcomed him back home.

After serving a few years in the U.S. Army in the late 1990's, Timothy Poe got out. He decided to re-join the army again on September 12, 2001, the day after the terrorist attacks in New York.

During his two tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Poe was severely injured. In 2005, he was shot in the leg during an attack, and four years later, an RPG hit his vehicle.

"The rocket-propelled grenade actually folded me in half backwards and broke my back," Poe said.

Today, he is back home.

He has brain damage from the injuries he sustained, and both physical and mental impediments that make it hard to transition to civilian life.

"It's hard to change all of sudden back into civilian life at a slower pace," he said.

The day News 8 met Poe, we watched him play golf at a Defenders of Freedom charity event. He wasn't very good - even he'd admit that - but he loved being out there.

The Defenders of Freedom program pairs veterans like Poe with members in the business community who can help them transition back into life, and possibly help them get a job.

"When you see their faces and their families, you want to cry," Tom Foley said.

Foley owns a construction company and has been working with disabled vets for years. He helped Poe get a job after returning from war, and on the day we saw him, Foley was assisting another veteran.

"They come back and we pick them up from the beginning -- try to help them live, try to get them jobs and get them on their way," Foley said.

It's about getting them more comfortable with life, and giving support to our most fragile heroes.

"The people that you meet afterwards in the programs, it helps out a lot," Poe said through tears. "It helps out a lot."

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com

Twitter: @craigcivale

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