Wounded Veteran Given Incredible Gift of Custom All-Terrain Wheelchair

by Chris Haney

A couple weeks ago, a wounded U.S. military veteran was gifted a life-changing custom all-terrain wheelchair to help improve her mobility. Army veteran Stephanie Vazquez is just one of many former service members who have benefited from an organization called Freedom Alliance.

Vazquez served for nine years in the military, and has been described as a “female trailblazer” during her time in the Army. The veteran served two deployments in Afghanistan before medically retiring in 2014. While deployed in Afghanistan the second and final time, a firefight broke out during a routine patrol.

She and others were patrolling a village when they came under fire. The attack left her with serious injuries to her foot, leg, and spine. Due to her wounds, Vazquez underwent 18 surgeries and had her leg amputated below the knee.

Enter Freedom Alliance, a national military support organization that frequently works with wounded veterans. For the last six years the group has committed to helping former military personnel regain their mobility. On Oct. 14, the organization honored Vazquez’s service to our country by presenting the vet with her own customized all-terrain wheelchair.

Freedom Alliance president Tom Kilgannon told FOX News that the wheelchair will “help reduce her burden and ease her pain.” The organization’s wheelchairs are one of many ways they seek to “heal the wounds of war.” In addition to the custom wheelchairs, they also organize recreational activities for wounded veterans. They also provide rehabilitation services as well.

“We do a lot of fishing trips and hunting trips,” Kilgannon said to FOX News. “Those are events to bring veterans together so that they can mentor one another, counsel one another, and help one another.”

Freedom Alliance Helps Wounded Veteran Regain Her Independence

Although well-intended, the outdoor activities highlighted wounded veterans‘ mobility issues. Some injured military members, especially amputees, struggled to engage with outdoor activities since they had physical limitations.

That’s when Freedom Alliance realized they needed to do more. They began gifting all-terrain wheelchairs that come equipped with tank-like treads. The chairs can travel over sandy beaches, through icy and snowy conditions, and even over hilly areas.

“These are strong-willed individuals. Having a chair like this just allows them to engage in more of the activities they love,” Kilgannon explained. 

He says that the chairs allow veterans to engage with activities that are otherwise very difficult. Kilgannon added that the all-terrain wheelchairs give vets “a degree of independence that they wouldn’t have had.”

As an example, Freedom Alliance’s gift will help Vazquez get around her new home’s property in Tennessee. Her new home sits on multiple acres of land. It also has a very long driveway, so the chair will help Vazquez navigate the area more easily. Kilgannon thinks it’s the least his company can do to give back to those that have given our country so much.

“It is a tremendous feeling of satisfaction to know that you’ve helped to improve another person’s circumstances and make their life a little bit better,” Kilgannon said. “It’s the least we can do for those who’ve sacrificed so much.”