A group of nonprofits is giving multiple amputee veterans a chance to experience the great outdoors with greater ease and more independence.
The Independence Fund and Truckin For Troops, two nonprofits dedicated to supporting wounded warriors through their emotional and physical recoveries, have joined forces to purchase multiple-terrain powered wheelchairs for these wounded veterans.
Since April, the Independence Fund has purchased 150 chairs, each of which cost roughly $15,000 - Fox News reports.
Truckin For Troops founder Scott Mallary stores the veterans' wheelchairs at his farm near Walter Reed National Military Medical Center while the vets recover at the Bethesda-based hospital, reports Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin. Mallary also uses his farm as a test driving space for the veterans.
These chairs are especially necessary for veterans who live on large rural properties. Staff Sgt. Thomas McRae, who lost both legs and an arm after stepping on a pressure plate IED in Afghanistan, is among the recovering veterans enjoying a new power chair.
"This chair will give me the freedom to get out and move around on my own property. Also, I've always liked hunting, getting out and doing that kind of stuff," McRae told Fox News. "That is definitely not something I can do without a little bit of a more specifically designed wheelchair. And this gives me that."
While many believe that the VA guarantees these chairs to its multiple amputee veterans, the Independence Fund and Truckin For Troops are actually providing assistances that the government does not formally promise.
The VA Public Affairs office, cleared up the misconception that there exist policies that guarantee all multiple amputee veterans powered wheelchairs.
"VA does not have a specific policy regarding provision of power chairs to amputees," Mark Ballesteros, a VA spokesperson, told the Huffington Post in an email. "Each veteran is evaluated by their health care team to prescribe the mobility device(s) most appropriate for them and to best meet their individual needs."
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