Most soldiers work their entire careers hoping to take it easy in retirement.

For Staff Sgt. Roy Salas, his upcoming retirement won’t be so easy, as he struggles to pay the medical bills that resulted from his son’s recent heart transplant.

“Since I will be retiring this year, my pay will go down by $4,000 a month,” Salas said. “(I) will be working hard to make up this amount. Since I am the only one bringing in an income for a family of four, getting to work before my retirement kicks in is my number one priority.”

In August, Salas’ son Fiko, 26, had a heart attack and died three times while on the operating table.

“Because he lived on his own, he had no insurance so a lot of his hospital bills came our way,” Salas said. “Early November 2012, we were told that he would not make it until Thanksgiving, so we were told to pick him up since there was nothing they could do without insurance.”

Since that fateful day, Fiko Salas was placed at the top of the transplant list and received a new heart.

“When he received the phone call to get his new heart, more financial hardship was sure to come our way since he had to be admitted to Scott & White in Temple,” Salas said.

Tim Ferch and Jamie Hofeldt with Red and Silver Central Texas Expos, in cooperation with Operation Once in a Lifetime, will host a benefit for the Salas family from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Whiskey Creek, 171 Farm-to-Market 3219, Harker Heights. The benefit will feature a raffle, barbecue, vendors and the chance to meet the Salas family and hear the rest of their story.

“We are helping provide guidance and a support network to the Salas family,” Ferch said.

For more information about the benefit or to make a donation to the Salas family, call (877) 797-2458 or email


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