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Unplanned retirement catches military family unprepared

After 23 years in the U.S. Army, Matt planned to re-enlist, but troop downsizing made that impossible. His unplanned retirement began to weigh financially on Matt and his wife Rita. See how these American heroes were surprised with a special ... ... Read Transcript

NARRATOR: Matt, along with his wife

Rita, love celebrating the Christmas season

with their daughter's kindergarten class.

Not long ago this army veteran was fighting in Middle East war


Rita says despite multiple deployments,

Matt always kept things in perspective.

RITA: I'm very proud of what he did

while he was in the Army for 23 years and the way

that he was dedicated to his job.

And he found balance with family and with his church

and responsibilities.

NARRATOR: Matt feels that Rita served just as much as he did.

MATT: I'm so proud of her.


I couldn't do it.

I really couldn't.

Everybody calls us heroes.

We're not.

The heroes are right here.

NARRATOR: Matt's retirement came earlier than expected.

He'd planned to serve longer, but because

of troop downsizing, the Army asked him to retire.

Right before the holidays, his income was abruptly

cut in half, and some retirement benefits

didn't kick in immediately.

Rita's nursing job alone couldn't sustain the budget.

The couple started falling behind.

I was terrified.

I was worried.

I'm like, how are we going to make it?

We don't have money for this.

We don't have money for that.

How am I going to do this?

Where can I get a loan from?

I mean, I was going hysterical in my own mind.

NARRATOR: Matt and Rita had been attending a military support

group near Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

The couple asked their leaders, Evan and Jenny Owens,

if they knew where to get emergency assistance.

Having partnered with CBN before,

the Owens immediately notified Helping the Home Front.

Within a few hours, CBN approved funds

to ease their financial burden over the holidays.

And help you guys with some money to be able to,

not only get caught up, but also be

able to potentially get ahead.

Wouldn't that be nice?

I'm going to bless you guys, actually, with $5,000

to be applied towards your rent and your utilities.

NARRATOR: Oh, my goodness.

CBN REPRESENTATIVE: - --which is an amazing thing.

CBN knows that the next several months

can be hectic, especially with the holidays approaching,

and just an addition to rent and utilities,

there are some other things that can help.

And so we're also going to be gifting you

with $1,000 in gift cards to the commissary for food.

I'll make it rain out there for you.

So hopefully that will help on a day-to-day basis as well.

Thank you so much.

It's a great relief.

NARRATOR: With their financial burden lifted,

Matt and Rita can focus on family

during the Christmas season.

MATT: Helping the Home Front, to do this,

just totally amazed me.

It's above and beyond anything that we'd ever could imagine.

RITA: I pray that Helping the Home Front

continues to be able to help others in our position.

You truly have been a blessing.


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