COLBERT COUNTY, Ala.- Volunteers from the Patriot Guard of Northwest Alabama gathered Saturday to build a wheelchair ramp for disabled veteran Gary Hartwell at his home in Cherokee.
Gary Hartwell served his country with pride for more than 13-years. Hartwell was forced into early retirement when he suffered a head injury. He’s left with chronic vertigo and mobility issues stemming from seizures.
With limited funds, Hartwell needed the public’s assistance to build a wheelchair ramp at his new home. An overwhelming amount of individuals and businesses across the region volunteered to help. Gary Hartwell made the decision to go with Lowes providing the materials, and allowing the Patriot Guard of Northwest Alabama to provide the manpower to build it.
"I let them know we had this project and boy they were all on deck. I have 64 people on my call out list for the guard and today we brought 10," says Patriot Guard Ride Captain T.C. Dawson.
T.C. Dawson says the Patriot Guard was honored to help. This was an opportunity to get together but also to help someone that is in need."
"We guys, we shed a lot of tears together and it is so good to laugh and joke and work together," says Dawson.
Rob Martin says today was about more than just a wheelchair ramp.
"A lot of our veterans today are battle-scarred and disabled. I'm very very fortunate that I was able to just contribute to the success of another veteran being able to get around and just have a life after the military," says Martin.
Hartwell says he couldn't afford a contractor and contacted us for help but never expected to get a ramp for free.
"I want to personally thank Channel 19 for running the story on this. I just can't give enough thanks for that. You guys are great," says Gary Hartwell.
Hartwell can now experience freedom, after fighting for all of ours.