Helping A Hero under fire for allegedly ignoring wounded soldiers' home needs

Several veterans and former board members are claiming the charity has been mismanaging money and ignoring specific needs
April 7, 2014 4:33:15 PM PDT
An organization that builds homes for wounded warriors under fire this evening from some of the very veterans it helped.

The veterans speaking out against the organization say they're doing so because it is funded by the public. Staff members say they're doing the best they can.

It was an emotional ceremony as the Helping A Hero charity presented Sgt. Marty Gonzalez and his family with a new home back in 2012.

"I would have never expected a free house," Gonzalez said.

Those tears of gratitude have since turned into tears of frustration.

"Just getting sicker and sicker after awhile and people were telling me don't say anything, we will handle it," he said.

HelpingAHero.org took 16 months to complete their home.

"At the time, she told us, Marty's injuries aren't visible. You cannot make me money because people cannot see his injuries so I don't really want to build you guys a house. That's why it took 16 months for our house to be done," Gonzalez's wife, Tawnee Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez, five other veterans and former board members of HelpingAHero.org held a press conference on Monday, claiming the charity isn't serving veterans like it should. For example, they claim some homes for wheelchair-bound veterans don't have as many wheelchair ramps as they should.

"The mission of Helping A Hero is to provide a home for a veteran for specific needs. They're not receiving homes with specific needs, they simply aren't," attorney Chad Pinkerton said.

Plus, these veterans say the wait is too long. Many families are paying rent they can't afford while they wait.

"Sixteen months? Seems like a long time, but it also takes a while to help coordinate," board member Buddy Grantham said.

Officials here say they are working to give recipients the individual attention they deserve.

"I'm not surprised by any allegation when it comes to dealing with veterans with all these unique issues and circumstances and then trying to take care of all of them while trying to go raise money," Grantham said.

The charity just hired a new CEO and he started just last week. Board members say they're working constantly to improve their policy.

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