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Pa. veteran lives out of van, tries to be positive
The York Dispatch ^ | 1/11/2014 | JULIE ZAUZMER, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Posted on 01/11/2014 5:32:00 AM PST by carriage_hill

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. — After a 30-year military career in which he earned three graduate degrees, rose to the rank of colonel, and served as an aide to Pentagon brass, Robert Freniere can guess what people might say when they learn he's unemployed and lives out of his van:

Why doesn't this guy get a job as a janitor?

Freniere answers his own question: "Well, I've tried that."

Freniere, 59, says that his plea for help, to a janitor he once praised when the man was mopping the floors of his Washington office, went unfulfilled. So have dozens of job applications, he says, the ones he has filled out six hours a day, day after day, on public library computers.

So Freniere, a man who braved multiple combat zones and was hailed as "a leading light" by an admiral, is now fighting a new battle: homelessness.

(Excerpt) Read more at yorkdispatch.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Military/Veterans; Society
KEYWORDS: economy; jobless; military
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Sad, but not atypical story, of one of 60,000 (DoVA estimate) of America's Vets.
1 posted on 01/11/2014 5:32:00 AM PST by carriage_hill
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To: P.O.E.; lightman; thouworm

Need a PA List Ping.


2 posted on 01/11/2014 5:33:30 AM PST by carriage_hill (Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading.)
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To: carriage_hill

Sometimes it’s better to be unqualified than to be over qualified.


3 posted on 01/11/2014 5:35:00 AM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: carriage_hill

Doesn’t a 30 career get you a military pension?
That and two advanced degrees?
Something is missing from the story.


4 posted on 01/11/2014 5:37:33 AM PST by svcw (Not 'hope and change' but 'dopes in chains')
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To: carriage_hill

30 yrs—when I served that translated to full retirement.He is living in his van— WHY? Either he has no bank account— or he is grandstanding.


5 posted on 01/11/2014 5:37:34 AM PST by StonyBurk (ring)
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To: carriage_hill

A 30 career soldier, retired at the rank of colonel, has a military pension. Estimated at approx $60K per year. What is missing from this story?


6 posted on 01/11/2014 5:39:45 AM PST by thegunmaker
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To: svcw

Yes he gets a pension and a pretty good one too


7 posted on 01/11/2014 5:41:16 AM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: thegunmaker

Sounds like there’s some medical issues involved, too.


8 posted on 01/11/2014 5:42:19 AM PST by carriage_hill (Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading.)
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To: svcw
Doesn’t a 30 career get you a military pension?

From the Article

His struggle to find a job after retiring from the Air Force collided with the end of his marriage nearly two years ago.

That will pretty much wipe out his retirement pay, courtesy from the old hag from Colorado....Sen. Pat Schroeder


9 posted on 01/11/2014 5:45:18 AM PST by darkwing104 (Forgive but don't forget)
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To: thegunmaker

My guess is a very bitter, bitter woman that is very highly pissed off and full of revenge.


10 posted on 01/11/2014 5:45:41 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: svcw

I read it 2x, and it seems that there’s “something missing” from the story.


11 posted on 01/11/2014 5:45:52 AM PST by carriage_hill (Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading.)
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To: StonyBurk

Something is missing from the story.


12 posted on 01/11/2014 5:47:13 AM PST by carriage_hill (Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading.)
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To: R. Scott

I have a nursing degree, but due to a disability I can’t work in that field anymore. I have applied for jobs working behind a cash register, only to be told I’m overqualified. It’s frustrating to say the least.


13 posted on 01/11/2014 5:47:32 AM PST by k4gypsyrose
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To: carriage_hill

A 30-year veteran dos not get VA benefits?


14 posted on 01/11/2014 5:47:42 AM PST by oblomov
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To: svcw

Doesn’t he have to be older to start his pension checks?


15 posted on 01/11/2014 5:47:47 AM PST by MadelineZapeezda (Remember, this is an administration which will not profile terrorists, but profile patriots? /Newt)
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To: darkwing104

So his ex, receives part of his retirement, even if she had half, that would leave him with 30k a year.
Military wives receive part to half of the retirement because the military says the whole family sacrificed during the service time.


16 posted on 01/11/2014 5:48:22 AM PST by svcw (Not 'hope and change' but 'dopes in chains')
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To: svcw
Doesn’t a 30 career get you a military pension? That and two advanced degrees?

That's $40,000 and three advanced degrees.
A lot's missing.

17 posted on 01/11/2014 5:48:41 AM PST by stormhill
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To: carriage_hill

Not atypical?? How many of those other 59,999 veterans have a 30-year O6 pension check coming in every month? That is no chump change. There’s more to this story than is being told here.


18 posted on 01/11/2014 5:49:25 AM PST by Bob
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To: MadelineZapeezda

No. You receive it when you retire.


19 posted on 01/11/2014 5:49:31 AM PST by svcw (Not 'hope and change' but 'dopes in chains')
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To: carriage_hill

I think we have a few cherry picked highlights of this story. Got to be a lot more to this.


20 posted on 01/11/2014 5:50:06 AM PST by EandH Dad (sleeping giants wake up REALLY grumpy)
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To: k4gypsyrose

Could you apply for positions such as office manager in a private physician practice?


21 posted on 01/11/2014 5:50:12 AM PST by oblomov
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To: Gaffer

“My guess is a very bitter, bitter woman that is very highly pissed off and full of revenge.”

... and a couple of (richer) lawyers happy to “help” each side in their struggle as it escalated...


22 posted on 01/11/2014 5:50:32 AM PST by ReaganGeneration2
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To: carriage_hill
His struggle to find a job after retiring from the Air Force collided with the end of his marriage nearly two years ago. Unable to return to the home he shared with his estranged wife, and faced with expenses including bills for two sons in college and debts that mounted when he maintained a nicer lifestyle, he took up a nomadic existence.

50% of his retired pay goes to his ex. Couple that with paying for college tuitions plus any other long term debt he may have had, and cost of living where he is at puts him in his current situation.

23 posted on 01/11/2014 5:53:16 AM PST by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: carriage_hill

Sounds like the dude has severe mental illness. He needs to check into the nearest VA hospital. Apparently his two former wives think that he is ill. Typical media BS story!


24 posted on 01/11/2014 5:54:41 AM PST by texican01
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To: svcw
Something is missing from the story.
From another source:Sounds like he just ran out on his family. I also read that he served in four "combat" zones, but from his picture,
I don't see any awards that indicate he actually saw combat.
25 posted on 01/11/2014 5:54:55 AM PST by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: carriage_hill

Two threads from a few days ago if anyone is interested in reading the comments thereon.

From the Pentagon to life in a van
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3108850/posts?page=73

Retired Air Force Colonel With Three Graduate Degrees Is Homeless And Sleeps In A Van
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/bloggers/3108989/posts?page=53


26 posted on 01/11/2014 5:56:15 AM PST by deport
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To: carriage_hill

This story is largely Freniere’s first person account, simply transcribed by the “journalist”. She apparently made little attempt to verify his claims with McChrystal, Hogg, or others he says he knows. Perhaps he is confabulating (a characteristic of mental disorder). If so, the paper did Freniere no favors by publishing this story.


27 posted on 01/11/2014 5:59:35 AM PST by oblomov
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To: carriage_hill

that is truly depressing


28 posted on 01/11/2014 6:00:10 AM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: carriage_hill

This is more common every day.

A lot of businesses do not want to hire over 50

Unfortunately you have a lot of Business Socialists who like to crap on your fellow hard working Americans


29 posted on 01/11/2014 6:04:24 AM PST by SeminoleCounty (Amnesty And Not Ending ObamaCare Will Kill GOP In 2014)
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To: darkwing104

that explains it


30 posted on 01/11/2014 6:07:26 AM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: oh8eleven
I don't see any awards that indicate he actually saw combat.

I don't see any.


31 posted on 01/11/2014 6:09:05 AM PST by darkwing104 (Forgive but don't forget)
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To: oblomov

Ah, there is the rub. I have tried that route and been told that I need at least a year of office experience. Either i am over qualified or under qualified. I haven’t given up looking, but it’s getting to the point where I just want to throw up my hands.


32 posted on 01/11/2014 6:09:24 AM PST by k4gypsyrose
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To: MadelineZapeezda

No, he gets his pension immediately after retirement. With Social security you have to wait until you’re 65.


33 posted on 01/11/2014 6:10:59 AM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: TADSLOS

A little applied financial advice from Dave Ramsey could help solve the issue. The man is not without some steady income to work with.


34 posted on 01/11/2014 6:11:57 AM PST by tflabo (Truth or Tyranny)
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To: carriage_hill

I met a guy at the gym who was living out of a big GM four-door enclosed truck with a golden retriever. The gym was 24 hour access and he’d come in and use the facilities and then sleep in the truck in the parking lot. Don’t think he was a vet, but he said he was an RN. The truck was registered and therefore insured. I don’t know how he handled the cops who would certainly cruise through the otherwise empty lot at night. The truck was there all by its lonesome the few times I drove past the gym after hours.

Something struck me as not quite right as an RN should be able to find work in Florida unless there was a problem that prevents hiring; drug use or alcohol, for example.

It seems a precarious life and just one step above being out on the street. I wondered where he got the money for gas, license, insurance and the like. I wonder how many are that close to the edge who really don’t want to be. (Most homeless are that way because of a mental issue. Once I sat waiting for a light and watched a homeless guy viciously try to kill with his fists somebody he could see but who was not, in fact, there. I pity the person who happens to accidently occupy the space he thinks has his enemy in it. It would have been funny, if not so scary.)


35 posted on 01/11/2014 6:14:42 AM PST by Gen.Blather
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To: darkwing104; oh8eleven

Those two large metal medallions represent significant time at the five-sided puzzle palace as a staff weenie, add in the time for the graduate degrees and there’s just no time left to engage an enemy beyond the advancing front of paperwork. Bet his various job descriptions included multiple references to “supporting the warfighter” to make it sound very martial.


36 posted on 01/11/2014 6:18:00 AM PST by T-Bird45 (It feels like the seventies, and it shouldn't.)
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To: carriage_hill

This story was posted on FreeRepublic.com last week.

The question most people asked was what does he does with his military pension. If the story is true, he should be making $7,500 a month or so. That’s quite a bit more than my wife and I both live on in our retirement and we do just fine.

Something’s not right about this story. Something’s missing.


37 posted on 01/11/2014 6:23:53 AM PST by HotHunt
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To: HotHunt

It was? Doesn’t come up on FR’s search function by this article’s name.

$7,500/mo is a nice check.


38 posted on 01/11/2014 6:30:41 AM PST by carriage_hill (Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading.)
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To: svcw

“Military wives receive part to half of the retirement..”

You mean military divorcees, thanks to that worthless hater of all things military, Congressthing Patsy Schroeder.


39 posted on 01/11/2014 6:31:24 AM PST by elcid1970 ("In the modern world, Muslims are living fossils.")
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To: k4gypsyrose

I would definitely keep trying that route. Maybe there are classes at a local community college, or a reputable university with online programs, on office management? Anything that would show your commitment would put you at an advantage.

Also, many health insurers have case manager positions, or even phone lines where members can call (or internet chat) to have routine medical questions answered by a medical professional. It seems like such jobs would be options.

Whatever you do, don’t give up! There really are many options today for people with disabilities that did not exist 10-15 years ago.


40 posted on 01/11/2014 6:34:30 AM PST by oblomov
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To: Gen.Blather

I read somewhere, that many of the homeless are indeed, mentally-ill. Don’t know if that’s true or not... some articles:

https://www.google.com/search?client=opera&q=most+homeless+are+mentally-ill&sourceid=opera&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&channel=suggest


41 posted on 01/11/2014 6:36:51 AM PST by carriage_hill (Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading.)
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To: oblomov

I noticed that, too. There’s really no confirmation of his claims by the author.


42 posted on 01/11/2014 6:40:52 AM PST by carriage_hill (Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading.)
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To: carriage_hill

“I read somewhere, that many of the homeless are indeed, mentally-ill.”

I knew this uber-liberal black man who had spent a career in mental health as a nurse. He told the story of a program where they bought houses, furniture and clothes for street people and moved them into free, nice houses. They sold the clothes and furniture and didn’t spend even one night in their houses. When he hunted them down they were mad at him for disrupting their lives.

Another homeless woman claimed she was somebody famous. When he contradicted her, she slapped him so hard he fell over backwards. She shook her finger and said, “Don’t ever contradict me.”

The Connecticut police called him out to certify a homeless guy who had nailed his penis to a tree. He took one look and said, “Yep. He’s crazy. Let’s try and get the nail out and lock him up.”


43 posted on 01/11/2014 6:42:56 AM PST by Gen.Blather
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To: SeminoleCounty

So true, and sad to waste all the valuable experience which older employees can bring to a business.


44 posted on 01/11/2014 6:43:33 AM PST by carriage_hill (Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading.)
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To: deport; HotHunt

Damn; same article with 3 different titles! No wonder it didn’t turn up on a search for me.


45 posted on 01/11/2014 6:45:36 AM PST by carriage_hill (Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading.)
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To: elcid1970

Schroeder?
No the wife who is married to a military man and tragically gets divorced receives part of the pension because the view is she sacraficed as we’ll.
Anyone couple that gets divorced can lay claim to pension funds.


46 posted on 01/11/2014 6:45:36 AM PST by svcw (Not 'hope and change' but 'dopes in chains')
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To: svcw
Something is missing from this story.

I read this book years ago called 'Stolen Valor' or something like that that basically said that a lot of hippies who claim to be (Vietnam) veterans really aren't. Since then, everytime I read a story like this one, I question it.

47 posted on 01/11/2014 6:45:51 AM PST by sportutegrl
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To: texican01

That might be the “something missing” from the article, which I noticed.


48 posted on 01/11/2014 6:50:11 AM PST by carriage_hill (Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading.)
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To: thegunmaker

This story stinks of something not told. 30 yr career + degrees makes you a heck of a lot more than $60K per year, even after the gov’t takes 50% or more if there is a state income tax.

Hubby went in in 1958, retired 20 yrs later as a SCPO, taught electronics and worked the flight deck, now they did not pay as well as they do now. He gets $17K pension plus Tricare Life, along with SS and Medicare. That over qualifies him for VA care.


49 posted on 01/11/2014 6:52:26 AM PST by GailA (THOSE WHO DON'T KEEP PROMISES TO THE MILITARY, WON'T KEEP THEM TO U!)
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To: svcw

He receives a $40,000. yearly pension. He is paying for two sons to be in college. Most notably it was said he has the gift of gab. Not a bad gift as long as he can wrap it up once in a while.


50 posted on 01/11/2014 6:56:53 AM PST by healy61
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