In Your Corner: Veteran desperate for hand up
A disabled veteran is desperate to improve his quality of life.
He hasn’t had heat or running water in more than a year.
Cornell Gallagher’s poor health won’t let him work.
The disabled veteran suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes, a bad heart, colon, wrist, and knee.
He pinches pennies to make ends meet, but can’t afford heat or running water.
He says because Uncle Sam keeps slashing his VA benefits.
“It went down from $600 to $123 dollars,” Cornell said.
The 56-year-old is in bad shape.
A single space heater must heat the whole house.
If he wants water, he has to buy it or borrow it from a neighbor’s supply.
We introduced Cornell to Dana Chism, executive director at local non-profit, Upward Transitions.
“It used to be if you were a veteran they were going to take care of you forever,” Chism said. “With all the cuts that’s happened, the government, those benefits start going down.”
Upward Transitions provides all sorts of services to Oklahomans on the verge of homelessness.
“My great case managers will be able to get in there and do some investigation to see what he’s eligible for,” Chism said.
Cornell, who was injured while deployed on active duty, feels his country has turned its back on him.
Somehow he stays optimistic and humble.
“I look at each day just as a blessing, just to get up and to see another day and know there are others out there who are at a worse place than I am,” Cornell said.
The veteran also suffers from a leg disorder that keeps him in constant pain.
We’ve not only reached out to Upward Transitions, but we’re hoping
Veteran’s Affairs and Cornell’s utility companies also pitch in to help out the veteran. We’ll keep you posted.
Cornell did win his appeal. He’s seen his monthly VA stipend increase, some, but it’s hardly enough.
He also plans to attend the Sooner Stand Down.
It’s an annual event that provides extra help to homeless veterans.
Some of those services include free dental, vision and healthcare.