By Barry Barton U.S. Navy
I joined the Navy in summer of 2001 through the delayed entry program when I was a junior in high school. September 11 was a life changing experience for this country. When this event took place, I was writing my girlfriend who is now my wife, a letter in economics class.
I had two choices: The first choice was to run and not fulfill the commitment that I gave to this country; or to keep my word, sacrifice everything, and defend America. I decided to give my life for our country.
My plan changed from getting out after 4 years, to 8 years to join the Coast Guard; all of which did not pan out. I now plan on retiring in the Navy. I didn’t have very much growing up, and the Navy has given me more experience and opportunities than I could have ever dreamed of. When I joined the Navy I had nothing, and now I have something. I owe this country, the Navy, and my fellow service members all that I have for what they have given my family and me.
I married my High School sweetheart Cheryl, and we have three boys. Matthew is 9 yrs old and loves football. Christopher is 5 and is disabled due to Cytomegalovirus (CMV). Ethan is 3 and loves sports.
My wife Cheryl does not work so that she can take care of our son Christopher. Christopher was born with congenital CMV, which has devastating effects on babies in utero. Christopher suffers from a severe case and is legally blind, deaf in both ears, he has Microcephaly (small head), Cerebral Palsy (CP), severe brain damage and developmental delays. He is developed as much as a 4 month old baby. Christopher requires 24 hour care, and Cheryl also somehow manages to take care of the other two boys and myself.
The craziest thing about CMV is that no one knows about it! CMV is the leading cause of disabled children in the world. No one is talking about it. But, there is an organization called STOPCMV that is leading the way and talking to Congress. This is a huge concern and we only hope that people become more educated about the effects of CMV and ways to screen for it.
On top of the stress that comes with having a disabled child, we now have to worry about our youngest son, Ethan, as well. We recently found out that the right side of his heart is enlarged.
We would like to do a remodel so that Christopher and all of our children have a place that accommodates their needs. We have looked into making some of the upgrades ourselves, but it would destroy the little that we have in our savings account.
It wasn’t until we saw a story about REIG OPERATION RENOVATION on KUSI TV that things began to change. REIG was holding a contest for about 100 Military homeowner Families, to apply for a home remodel, as a gift, by completing the application and having it reviewed by a panel. No strings attached, just an amazing local renovation and remodeling Financial Investment Firm, wanting to give back to the Military community.
While we initially were a bit hesitant, we went for it. I understand about 60 families applied. When we were interviewed and then selected by REIG Company, we could not believe it! All of our dreams have come true.
We look forward to the renovation and understand our home will be ready before Thanksgiving! We are so thankful and have such gratitude to REIG for what they have done thus far and what they will do for our family going forward. They became the biggest miracle of our life this year.