Real estate agent Trudy Mickey has undergone far more worry than a mother should have to. Her son, David Mickey, retired Army veteran, was injured in Iraq on March 17, 2007.
David and his unit encountered an explosion in which he sustained many injuries. He still has shrapnel stuck in his body. He has gone through 15 surgeries with another one expected to come this summer. He tried to stay in the military to no avail, and was forced to retire in 2010 as a result of his injuries.
"Between all of the physical injuries and the depression - I had aches and migraines and everything - they rang me up pretty good," David said. "It's been a mess. It was already bad enough while I was in the service trying to fight everything, but once I got out the depression got worse."
Tribune Chronicle / Kayla Hanuschak
David Mickey and his mother, Trudy Mickey, are shown at Stevens and Associates, the real estate agency where they both work. While Trudy Mickey has always been a supporter of the U.S. military and the volunteer agencies that serve them, since David’s injury in Iraq in 2007, she has shifted her focus to finding homes for local veterans.
Trudy decided that she was going to help him with whatever he needed. That included hiring him as her assistant at the real estate agency that she works for, Stevens and Associates. She said that her company is completely supportive of her work with the veterans.
While David was in the hospital in Germany following the explosion, the Wounded Warrior Project provided him with things that he needed.
"After you get life-flighted out, they cut your uniform off to assess everything," David said. "After that you get a robe. So then, when they told me that I was getting moved to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the Wounded Warriors gave me shoes, pants, sweat pants, jackets. It was still cold out at the time. They took care of us."
The Wounded Warrior Project honors and empowers wounded warriors who incurred a physical or mental injury, illnesses, or wound, co-incident to military service on or after Sept. 11, 2001.
WWP?gives injured soldiers backpacks filled with clothing, toiletries and other items to provide comfort while hospitalized. Wounded service members receive backpacks as they arrive at military trauma units across the United States.
WWP?also offers a number of other programs catering to the various needs of injured veterans.
United Veterans, founded in 1987, provides a number of services to veterans and their family members at no cost. United Veterans focuses on the very basic needs - food, clothing and shelter.
Click on this story at www.tribtoday.com for links to the Wounded Warrior Project and United Veterans.
Trudy has been a long-time supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project, helping out since before her son was in the military. She used to help veterans find housing when they come home from war and never charged them for her assistance.
One former military veteran offered to return the favor to Trudy.
"There was guy that I sold a bar to, he said that whenever David came home that he was going to have one heck of a party for him," Trudy said. "I asked him if we could put a jar out for donations for the Wounded Warriors, and he said that I could. I collected $1,600. That got us 16 back packs for the hospitals to give to the guys that are wounded. They are around $100 each. They also gave them cell phones for the guys to use. It's a fabulous program."
She takes donations from anyone willing to help, and even people who don't know her call her up and say that they want to help.
"While (David) was at Walter Reed, he was there nine months, they took care of him really well," Trudy said. "They watched out for him. When we would go to visit him, I took up collections and donations, and we would take it up to the hospital to pass out. I had people who found out about it through someone who said to call me if they wanted to give. I was taking DVDs, recorders, jelly spreads, chips. We took a lot of that to the Red Cross to send to the guys. They take anything."
For her efforts with the service people, she has won many awards and have gotten many letters of appreciation. One award in particular helped her to spread the awareness about her cause to a great number of real estate professionals.
"I won the Walter Graham Award from the Warren Area Board of Realtors, which is a really big honor to get," Trudy said. "I got that in probably 2008. I received that from Mary Porter Realtors for my duties and helping out solders and our local people. That gave me the opportunity to talk about what these kids were facing. They were coming from military bases where they had housing to a city where they have to report in a week and their family of five had to find a place to live, and there is no one to help them. So that is where I stepped in."
After this speech, real estate professionals started to join in and try to help her in any way that they could.
Trudy now works with United Veterans, a referral program where veterans can go online and apply for a VA loan. The United Veterans then links up the veteran with the agents and they do what they can to help.
Sean Cesareo, Air Force veteran, had Trudy's help to find a house when he was done with his military duties.
"She did a lot of work for me," Cesareo said. "Basically what it comes down to at the end of the day, Trudy found a house that wasn't even on the market yet. It was just coming on and that was the one that we ended up buying. She was always emailing me houses, always asking me questions like what kind of house that I wanted. I wanted specific things like a bigger garage and a big master bedroom."
Cesareo said that she was the best real estate agent that he ever dealt with.
"She goes above and beyond for everyone," he said. "It really is humbling when you think about it. Vets really don't get the respect that they deserve, but Trudy is different. She gets on a personal level with you and understands your needs and tells you like it is but in a professional way. She is very honest. She is awesome. She's funny. She is the best Realtor that I have ever dealt with."
Now, she and David work together to help her clients. He puts the signs up, helps set up appointments and helps out with the open houses. They work together to find vets new homes in the country they fought to protect.