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Texas nonprofit, community raised funds to purchase a wheelchair for East Texas Air Force veteran

Updated: May. 30, 2021 at 6:53 PM CDT
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WINNSBORO, Texas (KLTV) - A Dallas non-profit was able to help a disabled East Texas veteran by raising donations and purchasing an item that will give him more freedom.

Harry Wright is an Air Force veteran who began serving in 1965 and did so for 20 years. He served all over Southeast Asia. In mid 1967 Wright survived a helicopter crash.

“Where the helicopter caught fire and burned the shirt off my back. I jumped out of the helicopter as it was coming down and I spent some time in the hospital recouping,” Wright said.

Recently he fell at home and injured his hip, knee, and sciatic nerve to the point where getting around his home and community has been very difficult for him.

“Just going to Walmart would be a big treat. Right now, if you go to Walmart, you don’t stand much of a chance getting a motorized cart,” he said.

To keep a secret, Wright’s daughter-in-law wrote to Whiskers for Wounded Warriors, a non-profit that’s been helping veterans and their families for about seven years now. She asked the group if they had an electric wheelchair. At the time of the request, president of the nonprofit, Mike Wilburn, said they did not have a chair, but they asked the public for help and people responded.

“Within 48 hours we had enough to buy him a brand-new wheelchair, and money beyond that we’re setting back to buy, in the future, a new wheelchair for another veteran,” Wilburn said.

“I was so stupefied. I was kind of numb because you don’t know how to react when somebody does something like that for you, you’re not expecting it,” Wright said. “I had no dream of anything like that ever happening. I was thinking about maybe saving up and getting one later on, but I didn’t expect to get it this soon. But it’s a great help.”

Besides being able to go on Walmart trips and see car shows, Wright said he’s also looking forward to, “Even taking my dogs for a walk. I haven’t been able to do that, but if I could go on a walk with the dogs, I’d love that.”

“Situations and events like that allow us to reflect on what we’ve been able to do in the past and what we possibly can do in the future to help our veterans,” Wilburn said. “This is the least we can do to help someone who has done so much for us.”

Wright said he is getting doorways widened in his house so he can get through to the ramp outside and begin going places again soon.

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