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Pueblo senior, U.S. veteran, calls on Energy Outreach for emergency energy bill assistance

27 Jul. 2017

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Pueblo senior, U.S. veteran, calls on Energy Outreach for emergency energy bill assistance

During the Iran hostage crisis between 1979 and 1981, U.S. Marine Michael Trujillo was stationed on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, serving his country far away from his hometown of Pueblo.

Today, 36 years after completing two tours and being honorably discharged from the military, he is back in Pueblo, worried about whether he’ll continue to have electricity in the home he shares with his wife of 31 years, Rose, and the three grandchildren they are raising. All because of a paperwork snafu.

Michael and Rose are seniors living on fixed incomes, including federal retirement and veteran’s benefits. After years of regular monthly payments, they recently were asked to re-submit proof of their eligibility for benefits. Somehow their paperwork was misplaced and they didn’t receive the check they rely on to pay their bills. They aren’t sure if they’ll receive it next month either, depending on how long it takes to process their information.

“It has put us very behind on our bills,” Michael said. “When you expect it and it doesn’t come in, it really hurts.”

Energy Outreach Colorado’s energy bill payment assistance allowed them to catch up on their utility bill, relieving some of their stress and allowing them to focus on other necessities like rent, food and their car payment. “There’s nothing extra – it’s all spoken for,” he said.

“The people that contribute to Energy Outreach Colorado have made a big difference in our lives and we’re really grateful,” he added.  “It’s hard to go ask for help, but If you don’t have electricity in your home, you don’t have anything.”

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