Veteran devastated by tornado gets new wheelchair

- To say Ezequiel Rodriguez's life hasn't been easy is an understatement.

"It was just so depressing and it hurt a lot and traumatic. Everything that happened," he said.

A parachute accident in the Army left him confined to a wheelchair. Then a tornado hit his Port Charlotte home last month.

He and his father were inside at the time. His dad pulled him to safety in a closet. Their home had extensive damage and they were forced to move out.

"We could not see that light at the end of the tunnel," said Rodriguez.

Since then, many have heard his story.

Walter Cry, the commander of Disabled American Veterans Chapter 18 out of  Bradenton knew he could help. They were strangers, connected by their service.

"For me, it is personal. I lost a lot of friends and seen how people are effected. To see how this is going to effect him - just can't say too much you know," said Cyr.

It started with a large donation. A member donated an electric wheelchair for Ezequiel.

"It makes me feel, in my heart, warm and cozy; that there is a lot of people that do respect what happened," said Rodriguez.

The kindness didn't end there. DAV Chapter 18 also donated $5,000 to help Ezequiel and his family get back on their feet.

"We are just taking it step by step and hopefully we will get there in the end," he said.

Out of the hardship now comes a time Ezequiel can breath easy.

"Thank you for your service, my friend, and God bless you," said Cyr.

Chapter 18 of the Disabled American Veterans group offers aid to all veterans who need help. For more information contact Bradenton DAV Chapter 18 at 941-755-5425

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