Unmet Needs Program helps local military families

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis (WEAU)--People around the nation honored veterans this weekend but it's not just the troops that sacrifice while overseas it can be really hard on their loved ones too.
That’s why once again; area Burger King Restaurants are teaming up with the VFW’S Unmet Needs Program to provide financial support for military families while their loved ones are away.
Sgt. Joseph Wiltse deployed to Kuwait with the 230th Engineer Battalion a Tennessee National Guard Unit, running missions in Kuwait, Qatar and Afghanistan.

“I know that me and my comrades don't think of ourselves as heroes,” said Sgt. Wiltse.

In a war zone and far from home, Wiltse says the hardest part of being deployed is having to leave your family behind.

“They give up a lot to protect our freedom,” said Wiltse.

That's where the VFW unmet needs program comes in.
The program provides financial support to military families across the state while their loved one is overseas- for things like home repairs and utility bills.

“The perfect example is your car doesn't start and you need a battery and you got to fleet farm and find out that it costs 60 dollars for a battery you go in to your local VFW have a voucher that says I need a new battery and you walk out with the money that day or the next day,” said Hatfield.

All this month participating area burger kings are collecting cash donations of one dollar or more for the program.

"It's great because all the money raised in Wisconsin stays in Wisconsin," said Hatfield.

Burger King Co-owner Gene Hatfield says since 2007 area restaurants have raised 1.7 million dollars...providing hundreds of families with grants of up to 2500 dollars.

"It’s the little emergencies that are taken care of."

And for soldiers, like Sgt. Wiltse, knowing your family is supported and taken care of while you’re gone makes all the difference.