UPDATE After uproar, 'a ray of sunshine:' VA promises vet new prosthetic legs
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says it will make a new pair of prosthetic legs for a Mississippi veteran after his were repossessed two days before Christmas.
Jerry Holliman, a 69-year-old, two-time Bronze Star recipient, had his legs amputated over the past two years after his diabetes worsened.
Without legs, the once-independent Hattiesburg resident was resigned to a nursing home. Anxiety and depression dimmed his hope, Holliman said, and he felt trapped.
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A company repossessed and returned a vet's prosthetic legs. He still can't use them
Mississippi Clarion Ledger
Jan. 9, 2020
Holliman served active duty in the U.S. Army twice — as an 18-year-old specialist who volunteered to fight in Vietnam and as a 53-year-old master sergeant in Iraq. He earned Bronze Stars in both wars, according to his discharge papers. Between active duty and the U.S Army National Guard, Holliman said he served 40 years in the military.
Veteran says his prosthetic legs were taken, then returned, but he still can't use them ... and go home
Holliman, 69, had hopes of moving back to his home in Hattiesburg and returning to an independent lifestyle with his new prosthetic legs.
Then they were repossessed.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs wouldn't pay for his prosthetic legs, Holliman said, and Medicare wanted him on the hook for co-pays. As Holliman tried to navigate what felt like a maze of paperwork, it felt like his country was forgetting him.
"Medicare did not send me to Vietnam," Holliman said. "I was sent there by my country... with the understanding that if something bad happened to me, that it would be covered by the VA."
On Dec. 23, an employee from Hanger came to the Veterans Home to see Holliman. Holliman said the man was adjusting his prosthetic legs, then asked himto sign some paperwork for Medicare.
Holliman said he declined because the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs should pay for the legs in full.
"This is their responsibility," Holliman said.
The man responded by taking the legs and leaving.
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