There were days after my military service, when I couldn’t even pick something up off the floor without blowing my back out. This simple act, one so many take for granted, meant another trip to the ER for injections in my back in a wheelchair. I couldn’t sit and bend my neck downward because shooting pains would hit my lower spine. Thankfully, those days are mostly over for me...but not for everyone. My name is Grovert Fuentes and I’m the Marketing Manager at Toner Buzz.
What does this blog have to do with toner, you may ask? Not much, to be honest, but it does have a lot to do with Toner Buzz’s support for veterans like myself.
In 2014, I moved back to the beautiful Garden State of NJ, recently retired from the U.S. Air Force and trying to find myself. I didn’t plan to leave the military, but that time came and I had to adjust. My back was still in bad shape. My two priorities were to heal my back without surgery, and prepare myself for the civilian world. During my time in Berkeley College, I came across a non-profit called Catch A Lift. Their mission: to help post-9/11 combat wounded veterans all over the U.S. recover and rehabilitate both physically and mentally through physical fitness, motivation and support. That’s exactly what I needed.
When a veteran applies for the program, there are two waiting periods. The first doesn’t take long. They check your military records to make sure your injury is combat related and then accept you into the program. The second waiting period depends on funding. This can be a very long wait, at least a year or more. Meanwhile, the rate of veteran suicides is through the roof. We need to cut this waiting time down. There are over 700 veterans waiting for funding to become available at the time of this blog. This funding relies solely on donations.
During one of our meetings, Toner Buzz owners, Max and Sam, pledged support for veteran organizations. They told me they wanted to support a veteran organization the entire week after Veteran’s Day and not just the day of. I already thought Toner Buzz was a great workplace and company, but when I heard about their desire to support veterans, I knew I was in the right place.
“It’s simple. We will match the cashback we give our customers,” said Sam, President of Toner Buzz. “If one of our customers receives a $30 cashback gift card from us, we’ll donate that same amount.”
Right there and then, I had to share a little about Catch A Lift with them and inform them of how great this non-profit is. Their response? “If this organization helped you, we’d be more than happy to donate to this cause.”
Today, I’m a happier and healthier veteran with a great job and a great life. My back injury has greatly improved over the past three years and I’m active again. As you can see, I try to support veterans whenever I get the chance because I’ve been in their shoes and now, I have a great company who supports the cause as well. I couldn’t ask for more.