After living out of her luggage for seven weeks, Army wife Carol Moreno had had enough.
Her husband was about to deploy to Iraq for the third time, and she and their 16-month-old son needed a place to live other than their room at the Kristall Inn in Vilseck, Germany.
“We kept getting the runaround,” Moreno said of the housing offices in Vilseck and Grafenwöhr. “I guess you have to approach the right person yourself instead of relying on others to do it for you.”
So she contacted Stars and Stripes, which on June 28 ran a story about families in Vilseck and Grafenwöhr living in limbo. Then she contacted the Army Garrison Grafenwöhr’s housing boss and command sergeant major.
On Tuesday, she got her home.
“It’s really nice,” Moreno, 23, said of the town house in Vilseck-Schlicht. “We’re very happy. I’m just upset it had to come to this.”
Moreno and her husband, Sgt. Daniel Moreno, an infantryman with 2nd Cavalry (Stryker) Regiment, will move into their home on Monday, a few weeks before he heads downrange.
They’ll finally have access to their belongings, which have been locked in storage since they moved from Fort Campbell, Ky., on May 9.
Moreno said she was told Monday that she was 107th on a list to be given permanent housing.
When asked how the issue was resolved, the garrison replied by e-mail: “The standard is for families staying in hotels to be slated to receive permanent housing first,” wrote Robert Arbios, the garrison’s housing manager.
“In line with that criteria, we have been able to offer permanent housing to the four families who had sponsors slated for deployment and who were still in hotels. One of those families was the Morenos.”
The Morenos’ plight tugged at least one family’s heartstrings.
When he read about it, Charles R. Dunn, a government contractor in Stuttgart, wrote to the newspaper offering that Carol and their toddler son, Matthew, live in his family’s home until they got a home of their own.
“And we have a daughter who would be more than happy to provide free baby-sitting service,” Dunn wrote in an e-mail.
Dunn, who works for L3 Communications at the U.S. European Command, said the offer was simply part of being a Christian and good Samaritan.
“If anything, maybe they’d appreciate having a house where they can move about, and have someone else watch the child,” Dunn said.
“That’s really touching,” Carol Moreno said. “What can I say? They have our appreciation.”
Now, Carol Moreno hopes others will be as fortunate.
As of last Wednesday, 332 families within the garrison were still waiting for permanent housing, according to a news statement from the garrison. While two-thirds were living in apartments, 114 were living “in hotels (on or off post); hotel-like accommodations (pensions, bed and breakfasts, etc.); or with family or friends.”
“I just want to let everyone know not to be intimidated, to speak up for yourself and take the initiative,” Carol Moreno said. “People have to listen; all they can say is, ‘No.’”