After exhausting his options, one unemployed veteran felt he had no choice but to make a heartbreaking, desperate move.
Bill Shephard, who returned in 2009 from serving in Iraq, put his Army medal up for bid on eBay to help support his wife and three young children. It sold for $5,200 Thursday afternoon. (Hat tip: Fark.)
“I did it out of desperation and frustration,” Shephard, 43, from Woodbury, N.J, told Fox 29. “It was a last resort.”
After his employment benefits ran out last October, neighbors began helping Shephard by hiring him for odd jobs. Still, it wasn't enough, he said. So he posted the medal for sale Monday, prompting not only monetary donations but also offerings of clothes, jobs and more.
Shephard is not alone in his struggle to find employment and support his family. Post-9/11 veteran unemployment hovers at 12.1 percent, compared to 8.3 percent for veterans overall, according to the BLS.
Shephard has taken all the necessary steps to gain employment by returning to school, applying for as many jobs as possible and seeking help from veterans' organizations, according to Fox.
With the medal's auction money, he hopes to buy a new lawnmower to help start a landscaping business. He's hoping the medal goes to "somebody that appreciates the service of the troops in Iraq that have served, and you know, somebody charitable,” he told Fox 29.
Shephard's case isn't the first we've seen of its kind. Last year in Michigan, Bryan VandenBosch sold his Purple Heart at a pawn shop to help pay for Christmas gifts, the Holland Sentinel reported. VandenBosch had earned the award after being wounded while serving in Afghanistan.