Month: July 2014

Lowe’s workers stay late to fix vet’s wheelchair

Sulsona
NEW YORK –  Three employees at a Lowe’s store on New York’s Staten Island stayed well past closing time last week to repair a Vietnam veteran’s wheelchair that he asked the Veterans Administration to replace two years ago.

“They said, ‘You’re not leaving till it’s like new again,'” Michael Sulsona, the double-amputee veteran, said. The wheelchair apparently broke down in the store.

Sulsona, 62, who said up to that point he heard nothing from the VA about a replacement chair, but felt uplifted by the workers at the store. He sent a letter to his local newspaper, The Staten Island Advance, to publicly thank the employees who stayed at the store well past 10 p.m. and didn’t charge him anything.

“I kept thanking them and all they could say was, ‘It was our honor,'” he wrote. “The actions of these three employees at Lowe’s showed me there are some who still believe in stepping to the plate. … Someone needed help and they felt privileged to be given the opportunity.”

Sulsona, an ex-Marine, said he lost his legs in 1971 when he stepped on a landmine in Vietnam. After his letter to the newspaper, the VA got word of Sulsona and sent him a brand-new wheelchair Tuesday.

Sulsona’s new chair arrived in the wake of months of scandal in the VA’s health care unit over complaints nationwide of long wait times and poor patient care.

“We were very grateful that this was brought to our attention,” said VA spokesman Jim Blue with the VA New York/New Jersey Healthcare Network. “Too many veterans wait too long to receive their health care and benefits and this has never been acceptable.”

In a statement, Chris DiMaria, store manager at the Staten Island Lowe’s, said he couldn’t “be more proud of his team or company.”

Sulsona said he is enjoying his new wheelchair and likened it to getting a new car. But he criticized the red tape that held up his new chair.

“This whole story is based around three good guys,” Sulsona said. “I think it’s really important that we all be like these people who wanted to help me; things would be so much easier.”

Source: Fox News

Service Dog is Hero to U.S. Army Veteran

It has been the mission of Kent Phyfe, retired SFC of US Army, to support an organization that not only provides service dogs to Veterans who have medical need, but also played a large part in saving his own life.

Service dog Iris is Kent’s hero in so many ways. Learn how you can make a difference by providing support with a donation to America’s VetDogs.

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Kent’s Story…
I was medically retired from the Army and felt the pain of rejection because I could no longer do what I was trained to do. Having been the sharp edge of the sword as one of the best of the best, Airborne Infantry Ranger, then Special Forces, only to find that I could no longer do my job because I was physically unable was almost too much to bear. The anger of the past along with the continued progression of my malady continued to eat away at my self worth.

By the time my doctors recommended that I look into getting a service dog I was toying with the open end of my .45 everyday. I felt like a prisoner in my home, unable to function, needing someone to watch me like I was a baby.  The loss of my driver’s license because of seizures had such an impact that I gained weight and lost interest in everything.

I applied for Service Dogs through a number of organizations but America’s VetDogs was the only one that came through for me and made it affordable by donating the dog to me at no cost.  Something they do for every Veteran!

Iris would wake me for the first time to stop a seizure our 5th day together. Since that time she continues to alert me of health issues, calls the ambulance, has brought my family back together, stopped me from becoming a statistic, and has helped me have a goal in life again.  Because of Iris I was also able to get my license back.

Iris not only helps with the physical issues that I have, she has helped with everything I come in contact with. Her being with me everywhere I go opens conversations that I would never have engaged in prior to having her with me.  When I have nightmares, she wakes me up. For some reason I never come up swinging like I do with people. We are truly a team that is there for each other, no questions, just like being in a foxhole.

I am 100% disabled and not allowed to work which allows me to dedicate my time to finding ways to raise awareness and money so that other veterans who need service dogs will be able to experience the joys I have. Recently I purchased a camper that is wrapped with a personal campaign to raise awareness and money everywhere Iris and I travel. Our bucket list is to give back tenfold and it will still not be enough to repay what has been gifted to me.

All of this and so much more has happened because of this little rescue out of Georgia who has become my rescuer. The gift of living was given to me. I still have all the medical issues but now life is worth living.

See Kent’s photos and follow his blog about the travels with Iris at http://kphyfe.blogspot.com.

Kent’s goal in his campaign is to raise $20,000 for America’s VetDogs. Please help us support Kent and this organization by donating at http://kent.VetDogs.org.

Make a donation that can change a life…

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