Help Me Hank: Soldier's S.O.S.
She saves his messages on her answering machine -- thatís how much Susan McGuire-Doyle misses her son.
Since last fall--the U.S. Army private has been stationed in Korea--so communication is tough.
"It's pretty exciting when he does call."
While David's away, his mom helps him keep tabs on his finances
"I usually open everything up for him and then you know send it off to him."
Their transspecific banking system was going smoothly until Susan opened one of David's bank statements. She saw the bank was charging a $5.00 fee every time he checked his balance at the ATM in Korea.
"I was frantic for about two weeks trying to get in touch with him."
With a 14-hour time difference, transspecific talking was nothing but trouble--and the charges were adding up.
"In the military they're not paid that much."
And soon David was playing international telephone tag with the bank.
"He was trying to get through to talk to a person and they weren't helping him at all."
No one would explain the charges -- even when mom tried -- she got no good answers.
"I was trying to stress to them these are our boys overseas - you know - how can you help him? It was very, very frustrating."
Finally, Susan sent out an S.O.S.
"I got in touch on the Internet to "Help Me Hank" and I figured that maybe they'd be able to help us out."
What we had here is a failure to communicate. So we connected with David's bank.
The bank told us the international ATM fees were standard--but they wondered why David wasnít checking his account online - thatís free.
Turns out-- in all those phone calls to the bank-- no one had mentioned that to David or his mom.
"I donít think he realized how versatile the bank account could be."
When we explained G.I. David was overseas for the first timeóand had no experience in online banking--the bank agreed to refund those $5.00 ATM fees--and get show him the way of the web.
Now with the money back in his account now David's monitoring his finances in Korea fee-free.
"He's very pleased now with the results."
And these days those precious phone calls are on important topics.
And now the U.S. Army is riding to the rescue----it's just launched a 24-hour toll-free number to help answer financial questions for G.I.s and their families.
Army One Source is a 24/7 toll free telephone number for information and referral services that will be accessible in the continental U.S. and outside the U.S. for use by active duty and National Guard and Reserve soldiers, deployed civilians and their families. From the United States callers can dial 800-464-8107. From outside the United States dial the appropriate access code to reach a U.S. number and then 800-464-81077 (all 11 digits must be dialed). TTY/TDD callers should use 800-364-9188, and Spanish speakers can dial 888-732-9020.
Army Community Service Website: http://www.goacs.org (click on "Army One Source")