MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — A Madison Army veteran who was wounded in Afghanistan and ended up losing his leg now has a new way to get around, thanks to a national nonprofit.
Thursday morning, Freedom Alliance president Tom Kilgannon presented retired U.S. Army Major Anthony Maggert with a new customized, all-terrain wheelchair.
“When you’re an amputee, it’s kind of hard getting around sometimes,” Maggert explained. “Every day is a challenge for amputees of all kinds. Mobility is hard when you’re missing a limb.”
It’s a struggle most of us can’t even imagine, but it’s the sacrifice Maggert made for our country.
“Even though I have my left leg, I don’t have any nerves in my left leg. So, you’re kind of on your last leg, right?” he told reporters.
Maggert served five deployments over 23 years with both the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps.
In 2011, he was wounded in Afghanistan.
That wound got infected with a flesh-eating bacteria, and doctors had to amputate one of his legs in 2015.
“Even though we have pulled out from Afghanistan, we have pulled out from Iraq, these wars are not over for guys like Tony who have served,” Kilgannon explained. “They’re still fighting it in their hearts and their minds, if not still going into the operating room for surgeries as Tony will do this week.”
Freedom Alliance has several programs to help veterans, including an initiative where they’ve spent nearly $1 million customizing all-terrain wheelchairs for wounded vets just like Maggert.
“These folks have served our country. They put their lives on the line,” Kilgannon said. “They’ve made many sacrifices.”
“I always think about my peers and say, ‘I don’t really deserve a track chair.’ You know, somebody else probably deserves it more than me,” Maggert said. “But, they were gracious enough.”
The all-terrain wheelchair comes with tank-style treads that can navigate sand and snow, providing Maggert with a newfound sense of independence.
“I have a buddy who said, ‘you spent more time on the ground than you did hunting,'” Maggert explained. “It’s cause it’s hard walking around when you have a prosthetic.”
Kilgannon said the chair serves as a reminder of support and respect for Maggert’s selfless sacrifices for our country.
“We have to understand that the veteran community still has a great need for support for physical, emotional rehab, job placement, counseling, housing and a variety of other issues,” Kilgannon said.
You may remember Maggert’s name from 2019, when he made national headlines for helping a driver stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire.
That driver ended up being Colin Powell, former U.S. Army general and U.S. Secretary of State.