The battle didn’t end for Hector Dominguez after his last deployment. It was escalating.  “I would drink a lot. At first, I was relating it to my trauma with deployments,” Hector said. I was using it as an excuse to drink. Then I lost control of the drinking.” His addiction landed him in a new foxhole with white walls and heart monitors. “It got to a point where my health condition had deteriorated so much. My glucose reading was over 800. I was on my deathbed at this point. Once I got out of it, they talked to me about my drinking. They did my bloodwork. [They said] If you continue this path, you’ll eventually die.”

It was a matter of life and death. He needed help, and a treatment facility in Bandera, Texas, called Warrior’s Heart, was the right fit. During his first stay there, he learned about Hope For The Warriors, and later, he connected with HOPE’s Director of Clinical Case Management and Financial Wellness, Shelley Rodriguez. Through the critical needs program, HOPE helped Hector claw his way out. “We know there is a need to support folks in treatment with bills. A lot of time the reason why they don’t go to treatment even though they so desperately need it is because they can’t afford to do it,” Shelley said. For Hector, the financial assistance took away a lot of his stress because, financially, he wouldn’t have been able to afford it.  

You see it all the time. Someone with an addiction takes steps to get help, but the walls start closing in. How will they provide for their families? What happens if they’re out of work while receiving treatment? “It helped relieve all that stress and anxiety, everything that comes with worrying [about] the next step in your life,” Hector said. “[Not] knowing if you’re going to be able to afford the next step. Y’all took that away. It was liberating.” 

Addiction is an enemy that won’t surrender without a fight. Hector is still battling, currently in sober living after his third stay at Warrior’s Heart after a couple of relapses. This time, it’s different. This time, Hector has a new companion in the foxhole with him. This time, he has Ben.

“I fell in love with Ben the minute I saw him. Ben was a TSA dog, but he didn’t complete his program because he had a lot of anxiety issues. They cut Ben from the TSA program, and Warrior’s Heart picked him up.” 

The connection was instant between Ben and Hector through the K9 program at Warrior’s Heart. “Ben just leaped at me. The guy that was walking him was like, ‘he never does that; he’s afraid of people.’ Hector asked him if Ben was up for adoption, and he said yes, and even took it a step further. “Nobody wants Ben,” he said. Hector still laughs about the conversation because he immediately responds, “I want Ben.” The pair bonded. Ben would wake Hector up from his nightmares and help him with his anxiety and PTSD. The pup was supposed to go with Hector to sober living, but it would cost five thousand dollars to adopt him. He didn’t have that kind of money, so he went without his canine companion. “They were anticipating me to come with the dog. I had a room with a kennel, and there I was, sitting in my room without my dog. I was getting ready to run to my old ways.” 

Hector logged into a GoFundMe he started the next day. He was shocked to see the number on the screen. His fellow warriors had joined forces to get him his dog back. “I was overwhelmed. I literally went into tears. Getting Ben was the happiest moment I’ve felt other than the birth of my children. It was like a child coming home.” 

Ben brought Hector out of his shell, and HOPE Career Transition Case Manager Kristy Warren stepped in to help Hector continue taking steps forward. “From the moment I met Miss. Kristy, I let it be known that this is where I’m at. I want a job; this is what my profession is. She took that and ran with it.” The hard work paid off. Hector and Ben both started their new jobs in the spring.

“Seeing her reaction and the support from her just made my day even better,” Hector said. “I can’t really explain what I felt in that moment, but I felt gratitude.”  

He could have given up, but he didn’t, and HOPE is proud to be just a small chapter in Hector’s inspiring story.





Hope For The Warriors’ Critical Needs program assists service members, veterans, and their families in two specific ways.

  1. Program coordinators provide integrated case management, financial education, with an emphasis on long-term financial stability, and resource referrals that assist the warrior both today and in the future.
  2. If the warrior meets program eligibility criteria, financial support may be provided to assist the family in the short term.

If you are in need, please complete an application to connect to services. This will allow our team to learn more about your situation and work alongside you to address your specific personal needs comprehensively. After submission of your application, you will receive a welcoming phone call, and a team member will explain program criteria and customize the support we can provide.