USA Cares

LaSaige Francis

LaSaige Francis always knew enlisting in the US Army was not her forever plan.

“My thing was always that I wanted to be a judge,” LaSaige said.

After 12 years in the service, which included deployments all over the world, LaSaige knew that it was time for the next chapter of her life.

“(My decision) was based on a lot of things,” LaSaige said. “It was a combination of me needing medical attention and my kids really needing me most.”

A single mom of three, LaSaige had always dreamed of one day becoming a judge. She had tried to attend school while enlisted, but the demands of her personal and professional life proved to be too much to handle. In summer of 2023, with her exit from the Army on the horizon, LaSaige started researching beachside communities that had great schools for both her and her children. She decided on Los Angeles, California. “I have this thing where I need to be near the water and there’s a huge VA hospital here,” LaSaige explained.

Excited for her future, LaSaige said she was surprised by the Army’s handling of her ETS, which she claims was initially denied. To further complicate her transition, LaSaige had to coordinate her family’s move from Italy to Los Angeles while the military withheld her final paycheck for audits. That meant she would have to rely on her savings.  

As the months wore on, LaSaige’s payments eventually came in but, by that time, she had burned through her savings and was borrowing from friends.

“I have always been paying all my own bills for 12 years,” LaSaige said. “12 straight years and it all broke down when I got out.”

To make matters worse, in April of 2024, LaSaige was in Louisiana retrieving her car when it broke down. The mechanic told her it would be a couple of days before it was fixed.

LaSaige found herself stuck in Louisiana with her three children and no money. She pleaded with the VA to help her find an organization that could help.

She was eventually referred to USA Cares. Along with putting her family in a hotel while the repairs to the car were made, USA Cares also helped with LaSaige’s car loan and car insurance payments.

“The help meant so much more than assistance,” LaSaige said. “It was somebody that heard me out. It was someone who didn’t make me feel bad about it. There was comfort in knowing that I didn’t do anything wrong.” 

LaSaige and her family are doing well, enjoying school, and pursuing the dreams she said they’ve always wanted.

“People recognized that I’m chasing something for myself,” LaSaige said. “I got out of the military and found people that knew I just needed a push. I will always appreciate that.”