New program helping local veteran pay it forward - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

New program helping local veteran pay it forward

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FORT JACKSON, SC (WIS) - Over the past ten years, you've heard a lot about wounded veterans. There is a new program in our state that will help them by truly paying it forward .

A few years back, he was a soldier on the backside of an IED. Now Sergeant Robert Barthel is a father of five with only one leg. "Don't ever be ashamed to ask for help," he said.

He knows because he had to get some. Operation Homefront - an organization that just landed in South Carolina - gave him some. "A lot of times you have to figure out a way to pay it back," he said. "You have to get the emergency money, but you still have to pay it back. That's the difference. It's more of just a gift, saying ‘Here. Hey, thank you for what you've done. Here you go'."

The woman behind the new local chapter is Sharon Rice. "Operation Homefront provides grants, not loans," she said. "We also have a cap on what we can provide. If a soldier needs it, we get it."

They get it from Dollar Tree, and they get it from Walmart. They're companies that give. "We have many of our customers, our associates who work in our stores, who are directly impacted by the two wars our country's been part of for the last ten years," said Chris Neely of Walmart.

The Barthel's fall right into that list.

It's another unbelievable story. Right as Barthel was in the hospital after the IED explosion, his wife was giving birth in Hawaii to twins.

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