Homes For Our Troops, a national non-profit organization which works to support veterans returning from war to secure a home, is investigating a vet who claims to be paralyzed but has allegedly been seen walking.
Army Specialist Justin Perez-Gorda is a veteran of the Afghanistan war and was injured during an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in January 2011. Afterwards he returned home to the US, and was medically retired from the army.
“He has permanent loss of use of both lower extremities. He's paralyzed from the belly button down,” Josephine Perez-Gorda explained in a fundraising video used by Homes For Our Troops.
Homes For Our Troops stepped in to help, providing Perez-Gorda, his wife Josephine and their two children with a wheelchair-accessible home in rural Texas. The family moved in in late 2013.
Not long afterwards, videos appeared showing Perez-Gorda walking on the property. Neighbors said that when they approached the family to ask about Perez-Gorda’s recovery, he and his wife responded angrily.
"Obviously there is something out there we missed,” Bill Ivey, director of Homes For Our Troops, commented to WTSP. “Homes for Our Troops continues to assess the situation and is weighing our options.”
Ivey described the possibility of taking the home from the family as a “last resort.”
A Homes For Our Troops employee drove from Alabama to Texas to find out more, but according to Ivey, Perez-Gorda refused to speak and remained in his bedroom.
When WTSP sought comment from Perez-Gorda at his home recently, the army vet answered by saying, “Get off my property.”
"A TBI [traumatic brain injury] alone would not generally and rarely ever cause paralysis from the waist down,” Dr. Jesse Neeley, a former army doctor who did not treat Perez-Gorda, commented to WTSP.
Responding to questions from WTSP, Josephine acknowledged that Justin has been able to walk since March 2011. She also criticized Homes For Our Troops, claiming that they were aware her husband could walk.