Navy seaman Julio Mier was deployed off the coast of Syria in 2013 on the USS Barry aircraft carrier. “There were a lot of stressful moments. A lot of hard work,” Mier told NBC 5 Responds. “ There are 16-hour days. Long day and you actually don’t get a break until you hit a port.”
As a member of the Navy’s V-B-SS units, Mier was among those responsible for combatting illegal narcotics, arms trafficking and piracy at sea. After five years in the Navy, Mier left in hopes of pursuing a career in Information Technology.
“When I came back from the military, I knew that I had to be competitive even more than just being a veteran,” Mier added. “When I signed up for the classes, they pretty much made it seem perfect for a Veteran. I was given the impression that, hey this is where you belong.”
But shortly after enrolling in his first computer class, Security Plus at New Horizons Computer Learning Center, Mier said he contacted his advisor and told him he didn’t want to take the second computer class. He said he realized that he needed more time to study for the Security Plus certification test.
“He said OK, everything was going to be taken care of. So I didn’t think about it anymore,” Mier said.
A few months later, Julio received the first of many U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs letters telling him he owed them thousands of dollars for a class he never took. The VA had paid New Horizions Computer Learning Center upfront for the computer classes but went after Julio when he didn’t take the class.
“At this point, I’m in a world of confusion from, like, how do they expect me to pay this off,” Mier said. “[The VA] kept sending me letters saying that I owed them. So by that time, I was starting to get alarmed. That’s when I started getting no feedback from New Horizions.”
After months of not getting a satisfactory answer from New Horizions, Julio contacted NBC 5 Responds. Responds stepped in and was able to reach out to New Horizons which prompted investigated Julio’s dispute and sent a check for over two thousand dollars.
A spokesman for New Horizions Computer Learning Center said in a statement, “this matter was resolved to [Mier’s] satisfaction. Thanks again for bringing it to my attention. Had you not, this may not have crossed my desk as no other complaints existed in our system.”
“It was a huge weight off my shoulders, “ a relieved Mier said. “ I was. I can’t explain it. I was jumping for joy!”