Ah’monie Scanlon was 20 years old and working at a mall kiosk and looking for a fresh opportunity when she enlisted in the military in 2013. She saw a recruiter in dress blues and was inspired. The U.S. Marine Corps would be her new challenge.
She enjoyed her work in the military as a finance technician, helping families get reimbursed for moving expenses. Ah’monie received an honorable discharge in 2017 after four years of service, during which she earned the rank of lance corporal. She lives with degenerative disk disease because of an injury received during combat training.
Ah’monie returned home to Calumet City, Illinois, outside of Chicago, hoping to find an accounting position like her military job.
The COVID-19 pandemic complicated the job search for the single mother, and she began driving for a ride-share service. The work provided enough income to pay their rent and expenses and cover day care for her toddler son, Gabriel, who turned 2 in June.
Maintaining the family’s stability became more difficult when Ah’monie’s vehicle was totaled in an accident. She began renting a car, a cost of about $200 a week, so she could keep driving for the ride share just to make ends meet. She worked extra hours, which meant she saw Gabriel for only a short time between picking him up at day care and dropping him off at her grandmother’s.
The added expense meant she no longer could save money so she and Gabriel could move to a safer apartment. She felt unsafe where they were living, but the family’s budget was already strained, and she had no money for moving expenses.
She applied and was approved for Operation Homefront’s Critical Financial Assistance program. Thanks to a generous donation from the Wounded Warrior Project, Ah’monie was able to pay a security deposit on a different apartment. She and Gabriel moved shortly before his second birthday. She was relieved and appreciative.
“I can get on my feet financially so I’m not in this situation with a child where I’m struggling to make ends meet,” she said. “I want (Operation Homefront and its donors) to understand how grateful and indebted to them I am.”