Chris Wilburn, Marine Corps
Chris Wilburn has very little left to show for his four years of service in the Marine Corps.
“I lost everything I had in a fire,” Chris said. “All of my own military stuff – gone.”
The Atlanta, Georgia native was deployed twice to Iraq while serving from 2004-2008. After leaving the Marines, Chris had trouble landing a job and he and his wife eventually divorced. After his house burned down, he was left with nothing but his car.
“I had to start from scratch,” Chris said. “I was basically homeless.”
Even with the obstacles, Chris started attending school and got a new job, but his PTSD made it difficult for him to stay focused on either. In June of 2013, he was admitted to the VA’s psychiatric unit.
While there, he was on unpaid medical leave. After being discharged, Chris found out his car was about to be repossessed. The VA gave him several referrals to veteran organizations, including USA Cares.
With approval from the committee, USA Cares helped Chris keep his car and provided a gas card for transportation to work.
Now, nearly a decade later, Chris still receives treatment for his PTSD, including veteran group therapy, which he said he finds particularly helpful.
“We all have our own stories, but we also have this one bigger story as veterans,” Chris said. “It’s nice to be around people that understand you.”
Chris said he hopes his story offers inspiration to other veterans.
“I just want them to know people care,” Chris said. “People care and they want to help.”