Saturday, March 05, 2005


Sgt. Joel Gomez, graduate of Wheaton-Warrenville High School, was paralyzed from the neck down when his Bradley fighting vehicle tumbled off of a 200 foot cliff into the Tigris River in Iraq.

If you are like me, you assumed that when an American fighting man is severly injured while serving overseas, the U.S. government -- especially an administration which repeatedly wrapped itself in the flag and surrounded itself with soldiers during its reelection campaign -- would make sure to care for this soldier. That it would make certain that his most basic needs are met.

Well, we would be wrong.

Sgt. Gomez lives in a tiny apartment with his 54-year-old disabled mother, and is cared for -- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week -- by his 68-year-old father. The Daily Herald tells us:
His 68-year-old father has to wheel Gomez up and down a grass embankment through a sliding-glass door. His wheelchair is too bulky for him to maneuver, so he spends most of his time in bed. Limited movement and the inability to pay for daily nursing care has resulted in multiple bed sores.
Clearly Sgt. Gomez needs a new home.

But his housing needs won't be met by the administration that sent Sgt. Gomez to Iraq. Nope, this disabled veteran's housing needs, if they will be met, will be addressed by an adhoc group of Illinoians working under the name of The West Suburban Foundation for Disabled Veterans.

Tonight the WSFDV hosted a chili feed fundraiser at the Wheaton VFW.

That's right proud American, if Sgt. Gomez is going to get a wheelchair accessable home, he is going to get it one $10 bowl of chili at a time.

I have no idea how the thousands of other veterans severely injured serving our country in Iraq will finance their new battle -- an uphill battle for the secure and dignified life they deserve -- but you can help Sgt. Gomez by sending a donation to:

West Suburban Foundation for Disabled Veterans
20 Danada Square West, Suite 281
Wheaton, IL 60187

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