Military veterans are often honored as heroes, but to many of them the real heroes can be found by their sides in their own household.
ABC7 Salutes is honoring the caregivers, the unsung heroes in thousands of households who help those who sacrificed for their country and were left with both physical and emotional wounds.
Vietnam veteran Steve Costello is grateful for his wife Pamela, who is not only the love of his life but his fiercest advocate and caregiver.
"She's everything. I wouldn't be here, I can tell you that seriously," said Costello, who served four tours with the U.S. Navy starting in Vietnam. "I wake up every day breathing and that's a great thing."
Costello suffers from PTSD and is permanently disabled.
"The first doctor at the VA there told me I had the lungs of a 145 year old man" said Costello.
In fact, some have told him he should have died years ago. He admits he contemplated suicide.
But then he met Pamela, a retired teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Just as Steve fought for this country, Pamela now fights for him to make sure the federal Veterans Administration provides her husband with the proper care.
"You send him out to war, he fights for this country and this is how you treat him after? And this is millions of vets, millions of vets, and people don't even know the half of it," said Pamela.
It hasn't always been easy, but Pamela says she promised long ago never to leave Steve's side. She says his fight is now hers as well.
"I was living in darkness, and she turned on the light," Steve said.