One organization is changing wounded warriors’ lives one Trackchair at a time.
“The O’Reilly Factor” has been a vocal supporter of the Independence Fund, which provides high-tech wheelchairs, specialized equipment and medical care to severely wounded veterans. Tonight, Jesse Watters profiled three veterans who have been helped by the organization.
Staff Sgt. Tommy Rieman, 34, of Kentucky was ambushed by enemy insurgents and used his body as a shield to protect his gunner. He recalled the “mental devastation” of reintegrating back into society when he returned home from war, spending about six months on “every narcotic you could possibly think of.”
“I checked out, I wrote a goodbye letter to [my children], I drove a truck into a tree at 70 mph, and nobody understood what I was going through in my mind,” Rieman said.
But a hyperbaric chamber has been a life saver for Rieman, revitalizing his cells and making him feel “on top of the world” again.
Marine Cpl. Steve Walker, 32, of California, was deemed non-deployable after learning of an eye condition that would make him go blind by the time he’s 40 or 50.
“If you were to take a straw and look through it, that’s what I can see,” Walker said.
But Walker's loss of sight isn't slowing him down. The vet, who always wanted to compete in an Ironman, got a tandem bike from the Independence Fund.
Army Sgt. Mike Verardo, 30, of Rhode Island, lost his leg when he accidentally triggered a Chinese-made land mine.
A Trackchair from the Independence Fund has opened new doors for the wounded vet.
“I go hunting with it, just go romp around in the woods, go to shooting events, there’s really not many limits to it,” he said.
The O’Reilly Factor has promised that every veteran who needs a Trackchair will get one.
Hear more of the three men’s stories in the video above. Visit IndependenceFund.org to learn how you can help.