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I joined the army & served 16 years (1980 – 1996). My life within the Military was very good and I was very proud to serve my Regiment believing that provided I gave 100% commitment & followed the 6P rule (Plan Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance) then I would be rewarded by the Military looking after my welfare. My annual reports prior to the Gulf war 1 outlined that I was at the peak of my career and I was rewarded subsequently with promotions. The army Motto was be the Best and transformed me from a shy guy into a green mean fighting machine. My career and family life were evenly matched so I was not prepared or even considered that my life was about to change far worse than I could ever imagine.
I returned from the Gulf war 1 a changed man, a shadow of my former self and could no longer deal with my daily duties expected of me. I was always taught if you are at the front and you do not know what your doing then get out of the way however I was never taught or expected the reaction that if you are at the rear you will be forgotten. I remained in the forces a further 5 years turning into a Jekyll and Hyde character with my family taking the full impact of my transformation. This led to my marriage failing and my world starting to crumble. I decided to leave the forces which I had held in high regard but faced the conclusion I was no longer suitable for army life.
It was not until 2001 some 10 years later that I decided to say my goodbyes to this cruel world. I was physically & mentally exhausted & homeless with no one to turn to. Totally in despair I had finally given up. The system had failed me and I could not believe I still had not been diagnosed with any illness. I woke up in hospital after my attempted suicide and discovered my brother had saved my life due to his quick response. Now for the first time I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder however the support or advice was still not available which could help me stabilise my life.
In 2006 Joe Kelly a member of NGVFA pointed me in the direction of war pensions, I could not believe that an ex serviceman who was ill himself was going out of his way to help me. I was awarded a 30% war pension and was delighted, at last justification for my sacrifices. Joe then introduced me to the NGVFA and it was from this point I feel my life has truly got back on track. I am proud to be a member for the past 18 months which helped me cope with my daily routine far better than before. This is not just a charity to me it is my life line. Just knowing that there is help 24/7 is such a relief and has helped me deal with many issues. With the sound advice from Maria and her posse I now know I can deal with any crisis effectively.
To all new members or people thinking of becoming a member who are you going to call????........erm no not Ghostbusters lol. The care and after care that I have received is second to none. I have now attended 2 respite breaks which are so beneficial to suffering Veterans and their families. Recently I was represented by Maria for my appeal tribunal and was granted a 60% war pension. This I could not have achieved through any other organisation. The difference Maria and her staff make is that you are not just a case file. Her knowledge and understanding about each individual is treated so compassionately and for me she is my guardian angel. The NGVFA have embraced me into their family unit and helped me set my goals for the future and have asked for nothing in return. They are second to none with so much commitment and dedication. Finally I thank you all for helping me the forgotten soldier gain back my dignity and being able to play a part in society again. NGVFA you are.............simply the best.