Former combat medic receives free vehicle, “It doesn’t feel real”

Guzman and her family received a 2018 Dodge Journey

GRAND FORKS, N.D.- A Crookston veteran receives a car as a way to relieve some financial stress.

U.S National Guard Staff Sergeant Crystal Guzman initially enlisted in the military in 1996 for the educational benefits.

After the attack on America, Guzman soon realized she was there for a bigger purpose.

“9/11 happened and I got serious about what I was doing,” Retired National Guard Staff Sergeant Crystal Guzman said.

During the decade that she served, Guzman wore many hats. One of them included working as a combat medic in Afghanistan in 2005.

“Got to help a lot of local women and children and just support my troops, my fellow soldiers,” Guzman says.

Guzman says serving had it’s bad moments, but for the most part she says it’s an experience that she would do all over again.

“I loved being in the military, I loved serving with so many great people, taking care of each other. It’s hard to describe how that feels. It’s such an amazing experience,” Guzman says.

Guzman retired in 2006.

Now a stay at home mom of two, she still faces challenges of her own.

“My car we’re taking it in to get repaired all the time and it’s killing us,” Guzman says.

Her husband, who served four years in the Marines is unemployed which means money is tight. Guzman decided to reach out to the Freedom Alliance and U.S. Bank for help.

“She needs to be able to get to her rehab appointments, they have two young children and a vehicle, a reliable vehicle is something that their household desperately needs right now,” Freedom Alliance President Tom Kilgannon said.

“They got back to me and asked me if I was in need of a car and I was like yes,” Guzman says.

Even as she received the news, Guzman says it still hadn’t sunk in.

“Is this real? It didn’t seem real,” Guzman adds.

Guzman and her family received a 2018 Dodge Journey and hope to take a trip to the Grand Canyon as soon as we get out of the health crisis we’re currently facing.

The organizations have given over a dozen cars to veterans and their families this year.

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