Cyberbegging

I want to make sure the story of a Sleepy Eye family that aired on the national edition of Morning Edition on Thursday doesn’t get lost.

It’s the story of Robert Sprenger, whose Humvee was blown up in Iraq. He spent months in the hospital and when he made it back to Sleepy Eye, he and his mother made a surprising discovery, according to National Public Radio.

The government compensated him, but his mother says the money wasn’t anywhere near enough to cover his family’s expenses. So Sprenger and his family swallowed their pride, as a growing number of veterans have done, and went cyberbegging: They posted their story on a Web site and asked strangers to help.

“That was the most horrible-est thing,” says Robert’s mother, Vicky Sprenger. But she says they had no choice. “I wouldn’t ever cut the Army down for any reason whatsoever,” she says. “I just think … it kind of stinks, you know, that we do have to struggle the way we do.”

A Web site, USA Together, publicizes the needs of similar families.

The request from Specialist Sprenger goes far beyond any current definition of “touching.”


I am Specialist Robert Sprenger and I was wounded in Iraq. I was a gunner in a humvee that was hit by an IED. I was burned on 40% of my body. One week before my injuries, my sister was diagnosed with Bipolar/Borderline personality disorder and put in placement. Since then my mom lost her job in Nov and had to take a job at the local grocery store making $8.50 an hour with no insurance. She had taken too much time off from her previous job taking care of me and my sister. She spent three months down in San Antonio (BAMC) taking care of me. Due to her job situation we have fallen behind on our monthly bills. My mom has sacrificed a lot to help me. I am still on Medhold waiting for a discharge from the Army. When I am better, I will be able to help our family.

He requested a washing machine. Mission accomplished. They’ve got one now.

Tara H needs help with her mortgage:


My squad was working out of Baghdad on Valentine’s Day 2006, when an IED ripped through the passenger side door of my truck and the super heated shrapnel almost completely severed my right leg about six inches above my knee. My assistant squad leader saved my life and the rest of the injured soldiers in my vehicle. After resuscitation in the Blackhawk and again in the operating room, the doctors later determined that I suffered slight brain damage from lack of oxygen during these events. After countless surgeries in theater, and here in the USA I was fittted with a prosthesis. I am still unable to walk well due to balance and improper bone growth.

My husband was flown out of Iraq with me when I was injured, but is currently deployed back to the region. In the future, I plan on finishing my degree in business administration and owning a small business centered around pets.

Privately, a high ranking official in the American Legion calls the soldiers’ need to go cyberbegging “pathetic,” according to the story.