My name is Skyla Child, and I am a military member in the ID Air National Guard, and have been serving for almost seven years. I joined to get schooling paid for back in 2012 when I was 18 years old. My first career in the military was Client Systems, and I routed fiber optic cabling, phone lines, etc. My unit shut down in 2014, and I switched career fields to Photojournalism through my bases Public Affairs shop.
I am an only child and my dad works out of town, so it’s just my mother and I in Boise, Idaho where I live. My dad had cancer in high school and is still paying off a lot of medical bills and loans, so they are unable to help me. In March of this year, the house I was living in with a roommate burnt down while I was out of town on a snowboarding trip. Below is the link to the news article published, where I am listed as the “roommate”.
I saw only one photo before seeing my home in person, and it didn’t seem so bad. However, when I saw the house in person, it was destroyed. My room was not burnt down, but had immense smoke damage to all my clothing, my bed, and everything I owned. The entire kitchen and living room burnt down, and destroyed almost everything I owned – and I had just canceled my renter’s insurance at my last rental. I lost couches, appliances, a brand new vacuum, all my groceries, rugs, all kitchen items, etc. As one person, I only received $175 from the Red Cross – and unfortunately, there aren’t many programs in Idaho that help military members that are not Active Duty status. Actually, there aren’t many programs at all that I’ve found that help with anyone who isn’t a disabled Veteran, an injured military member, or Active Duty status. There are programs out there, but unfortunately if you have an emergency and you aren’t Active Duty, you kind of get the short end of the stick.
My roommate and her family put together a GoFundMe for our house fire, and included me on the page. However, as for me, I only received $1,200 (which only paid my deposit on a new home to live in), out of almost $7,000 they received – and did not ask for any furniture. On top of this, any burn fund money from local fire departments went to them as well.
All in all, I had to fork over my own money and slowly replace everything I owned. I am in severe debt now, as I took out some payday loans like a stupid young adult (to be frank). This was not a smart decision, nor did I think I would ever get in the position I am in now where the calls are never ending and I am frantically trying to find a way to reverse my bad decisions post house fire.
I owe money on my car payment that is behind, and still have to pay my rent of $1,200 by myself every month, along with all my other bills. I would say I have been living paycheck to paycheck, but even my paychecks aren’t enough to cover all my bills and expenses. I am drowning in these high interest payday loans and seriously regret that decision. I have no idea how I am going to get out of this mess, and even though I made bad financial decisions with these high interest loans, it was only to get by due to the fire and replace necessities for living.
If there is ANYTHING that you can do to help, I would be forever grateful. I am reaching out, and have never asked for handouts before. I’ve had a steady job since 14 years old, am going to college, living alone after the house fire, and trying to be financially independent without asking my parents for help – as they truly cannot afford it.
I do have a full time job outside of the Air National Guard, but unfortunately I work for a bank – and I’m so afraid that if I don’t get this taken care of that I will lose my job due to my credit decreasing and my financial hardship. Credit is so important for military and also my full time job, and I would hate to lose my job and get into an even bigger hardship.
I appreciate your time reading this message, and below is my email if needed. I’m happy to provide photos of the house fire, bank statements, copies of bills and loans I owe on, or whatever is necessary to show that my story is accurate and true.
Thank you so much for reading, and for considering to help.
Staff Sergeant Skyla Child
Idaho Air National Guard Photojournalist