NEW YORK (AP) — What the Veterans Administration failed to do for double amputee Michael Sulsona in two years, some New York hardware store workers delivered in an hour: They fixed his broken wheelchair.

The 62-year-old Vietnam veteran said he petitioned the VA for a new chair two years ago and received no reply. Then his wheelchair broke last week.

When Sulsona was in a Lowe’s home improvement store on Staten Island, a bolt on the already worn-out wheelchair snapped and a back wheel was about to fall off. Three Lowe’s employees stayed late after their 10 p.m. closing time to do the repair, for free.

“They said, ‘You’re not leaving till it’s like new again,'” Sulsona recalled.

The next day, Sulsona wrote a letter to his local newspaper, the Staten Island Advance, to thank the store’s employees.

“I kept thanking them and all they could say was, ‘It was our honor,'” he wrote. “The actions of these three employees at Lowe’s showed me there are some who still believe in stepping to the plate. … Someone needed help and they felt privileged to be given the opportunity.”

Sulsona, an ex-Marine, said he lost his legs in 1971 during an explosion while on patrol.

After his letter to the newspaper, the VA got word of Sulsona and sent him a brand-new wheelchair Tuesday.

Sulsona’s new chair arrived in the wake of months of scandal in the VA’s health care unit over complaints nationwide of long wait times and poor patient care.

“We were very grateful that this was brought to our attention,” said VA spokesman Jim Blue with the VA New York/New Jersey Healthcare Network. “Too many veterans wait too long to receive their health care and benefits and this has never been acceptable.”

In a statement, Chris DiMaria, store manager at the Staten Island Lowe’s, said he couldn’t “be more proud of his team or company.”

“Whether a customer needs assistance repairing their home or a wheelchair, our employees are ready to spring into action to help,” DiMaria said.

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5 thoughts on “V.A. Won’t Replace Vet’s Wheelchair, Store Employees Fix It For Free

  1. James R. on said:

    Thanks Lowe’s for your acts of kindness. The citizens of this country, should see what the VA is all about now, Government Agencies only acts when television stations are involved. Otherwise you are own your own. I got a feeling that the problems in the VA won’t be fixed no time soon. When you are investigating and organization and they are the criminal, do you expect the criminal to tell you the truth, are do you get the victim’s statement for the truth. The investigation is flawed.

  2. That’s an ill-placed comment. Congrats to Lowe’s for having some great employees that appreciate our military. VA needs to get on the ball, they’ve been sliding downhill for decades as far as service!!

    • jhuf on said:

      I agree it is an “ill placed comment” but I think of some of the absurd
      comments made about our former POTUS they were ill placed then and without merit or common sense, so this was one of my “what goes around comes around “ moments
      I just as you commend the Lowes personnel it just goes to show what the people can achieve vs. depending on the Government

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