VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- Veterans Daniel and Kate Fornicola served their country. Now, the husband and wife are serving their local community, trying to make a difference.
Daniel was an Army officer and a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. He suffered several traumatic brain injuries (TBI) as a result of jumping out of planes. According to his wife, the last jump was the most damaging.
“After that fourth injury, I basically lost my husband. After that injury, everything I knew about Daniel was gone,” Kate told 13News Now.
Kate, who served in the Navy, medically retired after just 20 months because of her own injury, one that left her blind in one eye.
Both Kate and Daniel eventually received disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. That process, however, was a long one that took years. As they waited for benefits, the Fornicolas struggled to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.
Kate told 13News Now that in 2014 they were at risk of becoming homeless.
“We never had a month in those two years where we had a roof over our heads and electricity, and gas, and water, and food, and phones, and medicine. Never. Not one month in almost two years,” said Kate explained.
Motivated by their experience, she and Daniel founded the charity Continuing the Fight.
“We promised if we made it through that we would do something. I guess we’re taking responsibility for disabled veterans that need help,” she said.
The two want to make sure other people who have served their country don’t have to worry about paying rent or putting food on the table while waiting for their benefits. Continuing the Fight will aid people with their household bills and other emergency expenses.
“It’s just the right thing to do. When somebody helps you, you help them back," said Kate.