Wounded Army veteran gifted customized all-terrain wheelchair

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Freedom Alliance is helping veterans with all-terrain wheelchairs regain their mobility and independence

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After 18 surgeries and one knee amputation, US Army veteran Stephanie Vazquez was given a gift to improve her mobility for the rest of her life.

Vazquez—described as a “female trailblazer” during her nine years of service—was gifted a customized all-terrain wheelchair from the Freedom Alliance, a national military aid organization. The organization has been dedicated for the past six years to helping veterans with all-terrain wheelchairs regain their mobility and independence.

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Freedom Alliance president Tom Kilgannon told Granthshala News that on October 14, Vazquez became the latest injured veteran to be awarded a customized wheelchair, meant to “help ease his burden and ease his pain.”

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Vazquez retired medically in 2014 after completing two deployments to Afghanistan and the first Female Engagement Team (FET) course in Bagram. FETs are an important part of “the security and success of combat units in Afghanistan,” according to the Freedom Alliance.

During her last deployment, Vazquez had serious injuries to her legs, feet, and spine when a fire broke out in a village she was patrolling.

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The adapted wheelchair is one of several ways in which the organization works to “heal the wounds of war” through recreational activities and rehab.

“We do a lot of fishing trips and hunting trips, and they are events to bring veterans together so they can mentor, mentor and help each other,” Kilgannon said. said.

However, events showed the organization that some veterans, especially those with disabilities, had difficulty engaging in outdoor activities due to their physical limitations.

Freedom Alliance set out to change that with all-terrain chairs that look like those on a tank that can handle anything from snow and hills to sand on a beach.

Veteran Carols Garcia with a customized all-terrain wheelchair from the Freedom Alliance.

“These are strong-willed individuals, and having this kind of chair can make them engage more in activities they enjoy,” Kilgannon said.

It also gives veterans the ability to carry out activities at home or around their property and “do so with a degree of freedom they would not have had,” he said.

For example, customized wheelchairs help the elderly to be with their children, handle yard work, and enjoy hobbies. For Vazquez, the wheelchair will help him manage his new property in Tennessee, which has several acres and a very long driveway, according to Kilgannon.

After the Freedom Alliance began providing wheelchairs, the group recognized the amount of freedom veterans were receiving.

“It’s so satisfying to know that you’ve helped improve another person’s circumstances and make their life a little bit better,” Kilgannon said. “This is the least we can do for those who have sacrificed so much.”


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