Kyle Prellberg served two combat tours for the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2012, he was wounded by shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade that struck his vehicle, and he was sent home to the US.
“To be on the other side of it alive and with all my parts, it was an absolute relief,” Prellberg said. “I had made it through the worst possibility and came out on the other side, scarred but alive.”
But when he returned home, a whole new war began for the veteran. Prellberg relied on partial disability checks and the kindness of friends and family to get by, but it wasn’t enough. He says he spiraled for eight years without proper resources while he fought for a PTSD diagnosis.
Prellberg separated from his wife and was fired from his job. By 2019, he found himself on the verge of homelessness. Hear more about his struggles in the video on top of this page.
Prellberg was introduced to the Veterans Community Project in Kansas City, Missouri, who provided him with housing, education and legal guidance. Prellberg credits the organization with getting him back on his own feet.
“It’s a hell of a feeling to finally start seeing a trend in the upward direction,” Prellberg said.
In February 2020, U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids invited Prellberg to the State of the Union in Washington. He was awarded with a Purple Heart medal in recognition of his service, an award he says “fell through the cracks” after he was sent home from Afghanistan. Recipients of the award are eligible for expanded veterans benefits.
This piece was art directed by Elisa Solinas.