Jennifer Duran, 25, is a bright young Orlando woman with a ready smile and big heart who anyone would be glad to have as a daughter, sister or friend. Married since 2007, she and her husband, Aaron, began their life together while he was in the Marine Corps.
With Aaron’s military pay and Jennifer’s wages as a customer service representative, they managed to make ends meet. All that changed, however, when Aaron was released from active duty service due to post traumatic stress disorder. “Being so young, we weren’t really prepared to deal with life beyond the military,” said Jennifer. “You suddenly go from a very planned, structured environment to having to handle everything on your own.”
While Aaron returned to school, Jennifer worked full-time to pay the bills until she, too, experienced a serious health problem. “Without health insurance, I couldn’t afford to see a doctor,” she said. “Eventually, I needed surgery, but when I was ready to return to work, my job had been filled.”
With no income and bills piling up, life hit rock bottom when an eviction notice arrived. Facing homelessness, the couple called United Way 2-1-1 after learning about a Veteran’s Administration program United Way is administering to help military families in need.
Thanks to timely help with rent and utilities, Jennifer and Aaron were able to stabilize their situation, find new jobs and get back on their feet. “I sometimes feel like we had planted a tree that didn’t have good roots,” she said. “Now I’m planning on going back to school and things look so much better. United Way helped us find stable ground.”