Disabled Army veteran Wendy Brunell proudly served her country from 1991 to 2001. The 44-year-old single mother of Hellertown, Pennsylvania says that despite struggling with PTSD, she was able to support her children through her job at a local lighting corporation; as well as with help from her boyfriend: Larry Wismer. A series of unfortunate events put her health, family, and home at risk until a gift from an unexpected source returned stability to her life.
Just a few days after losing her job, the engine on Brunell’s car went. The cost of the repairs exceeded the cost of the vehicle itself by thousands of dollars. Brunell was living pay check to pay check at the time and couldn’t afford a new car or the cost of repairs. Without her car she didn’t have transportation to get to medical appointments, the grocery store or even the laundromat. She says that being unable to attend her daughter’s softball games was one of the most emotionally trying aspects of the entire ordeal.
Brunell was shocked when the 25th Street Auto Sales dealership in Wilson Borough handed her the keys to a white pre-owned Toyota Camry, completely free of charge. The exchange was initiated in part by the Northampton County American Legion.
“We just want to help any of the vets out there in need,” said David Daiello, legion commander. “Some gave all — the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It is my job as legionnaire and every veteran’s job to help our fellow brothers and sisters in arms even after service to our country.”
Brunell said she was “overwhelmed” by the donation and it restored her faith in her community. She says she has found a new “military family” in the American Legion that helped her.