Sandra Touchet was born and raised in Germany. She and her husband Kerry met on a partnership competition while he was stationed in Schweinfurt, Germany. Sandra was a Medic in the German Army (Deutsche Bundeswehr). They married in Jan 1998, and they have a 12yr old son together.
Sandra enjoyed being a Medic and learned most of her nursing skills during her active time. She is familiar with combat related Injuries. At the end of her military carrier she was in charge of several soldiers as well as civilian personal.
Sandra’s husband Kerry joined the military in 1995. He deployed 3 times while on active duty, until he was medically retired in August of 2008. His deployments included Bosnia in 1996 with 1-77 Infantry, Macedonia in 1999 with 1-4 Cavalry, and Iraq in 2005 with 1-15 Infantry.
When Kerry returned home in 2006, things changed in their family life. The man they knew to be loving and caring turned into someone they needed to learn to love and cherish again. Sandra was really concerned about his behavior and convinced him to seek help. He was diagnosed with severe PTSD, and was medically retired for that reason in 2008. After this they moved back to his home state of Louisiana. Things have been getting progressively worse since then, and he was diagnosed with a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) through the VA in 2009. Their daily lives revolve around managing memory problems, hearing loss, depression, anxiety, flash backs, tremors, migraines, and seizures, just to name a few.
When they first moved Kerry tried to work in several different jobs, but was not able to keep those due to his medical and mental diagnoses. Sandra looked for a way to compensate his income by working different cleaning jobs, until she found a position as an Assistant Manager in a local clinic. During her employment it became very clear that she had to quit her position to be able to take proper care of her husband and child. Sandra learned that he was not able to watch their son, manage his medications/appointments, finances, paperwork, hygiene, and several other ADLs we all take for granted. He became a danger to himself and others, in this case their son. He would forget about the child, catch the oven on fire, drive off and get lost, and other events that had her really concerned about their safety.
Money was really tight and Sandra tried to everything in her power not to lose their dream home they bought and saved for. They struggled to make ends meet. Sandra ended up using Government funded Food Stamps, but soon thereafter were told to provide a mortgage book which she could not do, because the bank had never issued one. Instead she offered the 1099 for the house and payment slips, which were not accepted.
In this desperate time Sandra was determined to find help for her husband and their family. Not just financially, but also physically and mentally for her husband. The treatment he received at that point through the VA was not satisfying by any means.
In 2011 she learned about Family of a Vet, and decided to be an active volunteer soon after. Those volunteers were able to share their experiences with her, and pointed Sandra in the right direction and to the right resources. They learned that they needed a case manager, and several other people involved in his care that had not been offered to them before. Sandra enjoys returning the favor to so many other Veterans and their families in need, because the DOD and the VA systems are really confusing to so many of us, and information is not clear and hard to find.
In 2011, Sandra became a full-time certified caregiver through the VA Post 9/11 Caregiver Program, another wonderful program they learned to cherish. Family Of a Vet was the one organization that provided the information as well, not the VA system. Sandra is working closely with her Caregiver Coordinator at her husband’s VA Medical Center, and was asked several times to participate and represent Family of a Vet on different occasions. She believes that by working together and educating the public as well as the future/present disabled Veterans, Caregivers, and their families, there will be changes made to make life a little easier for them.