Detroit firefighter Brendan Milewski, who was injured on his first assignment ever and left permanently paralyzed, is now losing his medical benefits due to the city’s bankruptcy.
In summer 2010, Milewski was working as a firefighter at the scene of an emergency when a piece of limestone collapsed from the building, hitting him and fracturing his spine. The injury left him a T6 paraplegic, Fox 2 News Detroit reported.
“I do nine hours of physical therapy a week to keep from atrophy from my muscles shrinking up, losing mass and shriveling away,” he said.
Milewski will get a $200 stipend each month, but said he feels that the city he served has given up on him.
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“I definitely feel discarded,” he said. “It’s disheartening that guys like me put ourselves on the line everyday. These Detroit firemen, they put their lives, their bodies, on the line every day.”
Detroit in particular is a dangerous area for firefighters because of its unoccupied and crumbling structures. The city also has approximately 30 arson cases every year.
Brendan’s story was broadcasted when he was interviewed by Fox News Detroit’s Charlie LeDuff.
“It’s a complete loss of identity for me, to be in this position now and not amongst my peers, and seen as weak and feeble and handicapped and disabled,” Milewski said. “I hate all these words. I hate that they describe me.
“When there’s a school shooting, or when there’s a building fire or a whatever, a car accident, hazardous chemical release, soldiers don’t show up. When you call 911, we do. We’re the first line of defense. And sacrificing our lives, our health, one would only assume that we would be taken care of … The benefits that we got, they weren’t given to us. They were earned.”
Milewski faces uncertainty in his future, TheBright.com notes. It makes it difficult for him to work due to his paralysis, and physical therapy is needed every day.
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