SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - A wounded veteran who struggled for almost a year to get proper medical care is finally getting the help he needs thanks to the nonprofit, Combat Wounded Veterans of South Mississippi. This veteran wants others in his situation to know the importance of getting an advocate to help.
Michael Kohut spent four years in the Navy before being medically retired in January 2013 for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as traumatic brain and severe back injuries following nine months in Afghanistan.
"I started noticing after I got out of the field in Afghanistan and I was actually diagnosed with PTSD in Kandahar by a captain in the army before I even left, because I was having sleep issues, panic attacks in the middle of the night," said Kohut.
When he returned home, he says he struggled trying to get proper medical care.
"Two or three months ago I hit rock bottom financially. My mental status, I just wanted to give up," said Kohut.
That is until he did what he urges other wounded veterans to do, and that's get an advocate.
Kohut says the Combat Wounded Veterans of South Mississippi helped him help himself financially and medically.
"Once we got Michael's story, we were able to get his immediate needs taken care of. Then the needs of the healthcare came up. We are able to get his story and get the right people in place," said case manager Roger Sibley.
According to Donna Anderson, founder of the nonprofit, she has seen several cases just like Kohut's.
"We've seen it before. They have this gap when they come out of the active service. Then, pending and waiting on their VA claims, they can go 18 months without getting any check from the VA, which causes a lot of them to get into a financial crisis," said Anderson.
Kohut's mother Paula says she's grateful for the help her son has received.
"If it wasn't for them, I really don't know what would be happening to my son right now or even if I would have him," said Paula.
Kohut's message to others like him is to get help before it's too late.
"I just want to let them know that they need an advocate. You can't fight this process on your own," said Kohut.