MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md.--A severely wounded soldier who has endured 78 surgeries is deemed "not injured enough" to qualify for assistance. A wounded warrior who has sacrificed so much for this country is struggling to get grant money or enough donations to build a handicapped accessible home.
Army Sergeant Franz Walkup was severely wounded while deployed in Afghanistan. But apparently he isn't considered "injured enough" to qualify for the help he needs. "I was shot 5 times," recalls Sgt. Walkup, "in the stomach and one through the back."
He was inexplicably ambushed by the very Afghan Army members he and his unit were training. Franz spent six months at Walter Reed and endured 78 surgeries. He was awarded the Purple Heart for his bravery.
"It's hard because it kind of feels like, my sacrifice wasn't great enough."
When Franz and his wife Shannon applied for financial help to build a handicapped accessible home, the couple was rejected by at least five organizations.
"They act like getting shot five times wasn't enough. Because he didn't step on an IED. You didn't lose extremities," said wife Shannon Walkup.
Franz has his legs, but one of them doesn't work. His body--a roadmap of his injuries, a shattered pelvis, a broken leg, he lost his spleen, and most of his small and large intestines.
"It kind of stresses me out because I'm working so many jobs. I can only do so much. He can't do much anymore," said Shannon. "We need a home that we can call our forever home. This isn't forever. We need some place to plant our feet, maybe one day have children."
Franz is proud to come from a military family--one of four brothers to serve. His older brother, Frank was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb in 2007, 3 days before his 24th birthday.
Despite all they've been through, Franz and Shannon don't begrudge the wounded warriors who get priority--double and triple amputees, and those with traumatic brain injuries. The Walkups have applied for a grant from the Veterans Administration that could cover some of their costs, but they've been told there's an extraordinary backlog. If you'd like to help, a fund has been set up in Franz' name at http://www.gofundme.com/gz465g
Read More at: http://www.local21news.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/wounded-soldier-denied-assistance-13416.shtml