BOYNTON BEACH, FL (WFLX) - A Palm Beach County U.S. Air Force veteran says he is doing everything he can to get back on his financial feet. It has not been easy, considering who else former Sgt. Jack Vigil is trying to care for.
Inside a yellow Penske rental truck parked at a Boynton Beach shopping center, a heartbreaking scenario unfolds.
"And that's what's left of my existence," said Vigil, 45, showing the contents of the truck. He says it is everything he has to his name. "Yeah, it sucks."
Vigil is homeless and says he is down to his last few days of being able to afford the rental vehicle. "This Penske truck is more than just for transpiration right now," he said. "It's my life."
He is not living this life alone. Four dogs and one cat can be found resting comfortably in the cab of the truck. Vigil admits that they could all use a bath and a haircut.
These days, these animals are Vigil's co-pilots. He says they are his support system to help him deal with symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that he has been dealing with since his time in combat in the Middle East.
Since receiving a medical discharge from the military, Vigil says he has been look for steady employment. He hopes to find it before what little money he has is gone and the rental truck has to be returned.
"Nobody foresees something like this happening," he said of his circumstances. "It just happens."
The animals, Vigil says, are his priority. "If they're okay, I'm okay."
Justin Bartlett Animal Rescue, based in Palm Beach County, has stepped forward to help pay for temporary boarding for two of Vigil's dogs at All Dogs Rock in West Palm Beach, while Vigil finds a job and a place to live. The other two dogs and the cat will remain with Vigil for now unless someone else from the community steps up. To learn more, contact Justin Bartlett Animal Rescue.
"There's not much hope for you to keep going, but they keep me grounded," said Vigil of his pets.