A Tennessee soldier, who was severely wounded in Afghanistan, says he has been turned down by five aid organizations as he and his wife struggle to gather funds to build a wheelchair accessible home for themselves.
"It's hard because it kind of feels like, my sacrifice wasn't great enough," Army Sgt. Franz Walkup recently told WUSA.
Walkup was shot five times on Sept. 29, 2012, by Afghan troops in a friendly fire incident, according to WSMV.
Four of the bullets hit Walkup in the stomach and the fifth struck his back. He suffered a shattered pelvis and a broken leg. He also lost his spleen and much of his small and large intestines. Walkup endured 78 surgeries during his six-month recovery at Walter Reed Hospital and was eventually awarded the Purple Heart.
But the attack also left him in a wheelchair, without the use of his right leg below the knee. Now, Walkup says, he needs a new home to accommodate the wheelchair. But the aid organizations say he isn’t sufficiently injured to award him grants for the construction.
“I just need a little three-bedroom house with 36 inch doors so I can fit a wheelchair through,” he said.
“I fit into that gray area where I have the loss of the limb, but I still have my limb,” he explained.
But his wife, Shannon Walkup, said that explanation isn’t good enough.
“They act like getting shot five times wasn't enough. Because he didn't step on an IED. You didn't lose extremities,” she said during the same interview.
“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,” she added.
Frustrated, the couple turned to the Veterans Administration to secure a grant. That application has not been denied, but the agency tells them they have a huge backlog.
The Walkups have also started a GoFundMe account to raise $50,000 towards a new home. So far, they have raised a little over $14,000.