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Assistance Without Boundaries

      Eric W. Kritz, a US Army Veteran, suffered a couple of strokes that left him paralyzed with no mobility in his legs and little use of his right arm.  This proud First Lieutenant and Intelligence Officer found himself alone and searching for answers.  Asking for help was not in his vocabulary!  Adding to his dilemma, short-term memory was also slipping. Twice within a year’s time I contacted the Sonoma County Sheriff’s department to perform Welfare Checks! He now requires and has 24-hour home care!

      His diligent neighbor, Jane Eagle, called me and explained the difficult time Eric was having trying to maneuver his standard wheelchair. His self-esteem and comments to continue life became a concern to those few that know him.  The immensity of red tape from the VA made it almost impossible to get a motorized wheelchair in a reasonable time period!  I sent an alarm-type email to local Veteran organizations requesting assistance.  Within 24 hours Commander John Durant of MOPH 1041 called to say they located an electric wheelchair.  The very next day it was taken to the Runge Tool Company here in Denver.  Mr. Runge and his staff cleaned the chair and added a new battery.  In addition, they placed the wheelchair on a pallet and bubble wrapped it for shipment.  Ryan Demming from Freightquote, Kansas City, handled all the paperwork, picked up and transportation to Petaluma, California.  Just a few miles from Eric’s home in Graton.

    Meanwhile, after a few emails and telephone conversations with Department of California Commander Charles Earthman, Bob Evans, Senior Vice Commander of Santa Rosa MOPH Chapter 78, and Paul Naivalurua (Eric’s Caregiver) volunteered to assist.  No hesitation, no request for compensation, and no winded explanations, they received Eric’s electric wheelchair at a local Fed X terminal.  Shortly thereafter and upon delivery, the smile on Eric’s face was well worth the effort by “A Village of Veterans” willing to help another Veteran in need.  *Pictures are worth a thousand words! (see the attached photos)

      A Denver high altitude of thanks goes out to Cliff Butler, Patti Ehline, Mike Lovette, Jim Marcille, Frank Mireles, Richard Lewis, Glen Payne, and John Vargas, and the two MOPH Commanders, all who donated time, manpower and helped defray the shipping tariffs.  This was a prime example of Veterans helping another Veteran regardless of distance, costs, man hours and weather challenges. Well done and “Mission Accomplished”

       You should all be as proud of yourselves as a I am of you!

      Thank you, thank you, thank you,

       John A. Vargas


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