An Afghanistan War veteran who was shot five times and uses a wheelchair is desperate for an accessible home, but has been rejected at nearly every turn for help. So, he’s taking matters into his own hands.
In 2012, members of the Afghan Army who Sgt. Franz Walkup had been helping to train turned on the U.S., ambushed Walkup's unit and he endured a number of severe injuries, according to WUSA 9. But when the Tennessee serviceman returned home, he couldn’t get aid from veterans’ nonprofits and now hopes he can raise the funds he needs on his own.
Walkup’s wounds included a shattered pelvis, losing his spleen and an injury to his right leg.
He underwent 78 surgeries and often relies on a wheelchair to get around.
Still, despite his ordeal, Walkup told WUSA that he was rejected by at least five organizations when he asked for help in building an accessible home. He and his wife applied for grants through the Department of Veterans Affairs, but the backlog will keep that aid from coming through in a timely manner.
"It's hard because it kind of feels like, my sacrifice wasn't great enough," he told the news outlet. "I fit into that gray area where I have the loss of the limb, but I still have my limb."
The pair hopes to raise $50,000. As of Tuesday afternoon, the Walkups had collected more than $17,000.
Getting a modest home where Walkup’s wheelchair can fit through the doorway may just be the key to easing at least some of the suffering his family has endured.
Tragedy first struck in 2007 when Walkup’s older brother, Frank, was killed in an explosion in Iraq, according to WSMV.
"It's been extremely difficult since we've already lost a brother in this war, and you know we were really scared at one point," Walkup's sister, Emily Agee, told the news outlet in 2012 after she learned her brother had been injured, "but now that we know he's going to make it, it's been easier."
Find out more about Sergeant Franz Walkup's fundraising campaign and how you can get involved here.