Sandra Cleary

Location: Ohio, USA
Branch Of Service: Army
Disability: 100%


My Story

Sandy Cleary was a medic during the Vietnam War, and now suffers with 100% post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Athletic as a young girl, Sandy desired to serve her country and help people, and so in 1972 she joined the US Army and trained to be a medic. 

One night, after working at the drug and alcohol ward in the Fort Dix hospital, Sandy was sexually assaulted and became pregnant. The rapist told her that he would kill her if she told anyone.  Being young, she was too afraid to say anything.  Unfortunately, at that time the Army was unable to have a pregnant servicemember, and Sandy had to choose between having an abortion or being discharged.  Having been brought up in a religious household, Sandy didn’t believe in abortion and so, choosing to keep her child, she lost her military service.  Or, more appropriately, her military service was taken from her by a rapist and by justifiable fear.

Now a single mother …

full story

In a time when that was not socially accepted, her military career destroyed and her dreams of a future now at risk, Sandy had to move try to make a future for herself and her son.  Unfortunately, although she was suffering from PTSD, at that time this was not recognized or treated effectively.  Consequently, Sandy has experienced a lifetime of crippling anxiety, depression and isolation. 

Sandy now has two sons and a daughter-in-law, and like many other veterans with PTSD has worked hard to overcome the limitations and difficulties imposed by her disability.  But despite everything she has been through, Sandy continues to smile her way through life and wants to make a difference.  She is older now, but her Dream is to own a small travel agency that specializes in providing travel opportunities for seniors.  Her Dream is to create travel packages where seniors with limitations could have the necessary ease of access for experiencing new places.

While we cannot change Sandy’s past, together we can change her future.  4Vets4Life, together with partnering nonprofits and other organizations, can make Sandy’s Dream a reality.  With your help, Sandy can provide those travel experiences to other seniors that can help change their lives as well.  4Vets4Life, by assisting Sandy in creating the network of individuals and resources she needs to be successful, can work together to make Sandy’s Dream a success.