Injured OK County deputy fights for benefits
OKLAHOMA CITY — Major John Waldenville suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was shot May 20, 2011.
He was ambushed as he left his part-time security job at Cattleman’s restaurant with the nightly bank deposit.
Waldenville said he remembers nothing from that night.
He said taking a bullet was the easy part.
“Not only dealing with recovery, I’m dealing with abandonment at the same time,” Waldenville said. “Being taken care of, the financial side at the sheriff’s office, I felt like I was nothing more than a number on a balance sheet in the liability column. That’s exactly what I feel like, I just feel like it has been thrown to the curb.”
Waldenville is fighting in court for Oklahoma County to pay workers comp.
Right now, Cattleman’s is, and since that was just a part-time job, it only amounts to about $160 a week.
He and his wife said the county has offered no other support.
“I think he’s been treated horribly by the people that supposedly loved him and thought of him as family,” wife Marjorie Waldenville said.
Marjorie is now even questioning the fundraising efforts on behalf of her husband.
“After talking to so many people and companies who say, ‘Well, we donated this or that,’ and to see they’re not on the list, it’s a little alarming,” Mrs. Waldenville said.
The Waldenvilles said even while they’re facing an uncertain future, they’re speaking out now partly to make sure no other county employee would have to go through this.
“To be tossed out like this with the Sheriff Whetsel of the county, however they want to justify what they’re doing is shameful, absolutely shameful,” Major Waldenville said.
Mark Myers with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department sent us this statement in response to the Waldenvilles’ allegations:
“The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office has been informed by members of our local media that one of our most respected and loved employees, Major John Waldenville, recently held a news conference detailing his concerns on several issues. First and foremost, I can tell you that Major Waldenville is, and will always be family to us. John nearly lost his life in an ambush and he is a hero to us all.
We understand a claim was made about workers compensation, health care, and long-term disability. Issues of workers compensation, disability, and health care are handled by the Oklahoma County Human Resources Department, not the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office. Oklahoma state statutes make very clear how counties must handle these situations and the law has been followed. We would defer any further comments regarding these issues to the Oklahoma County Human Resources Department of the Board of County Commissioners.
On the issue of money that was raised for Major Waldenville, the Oklahoma County Fraternal Order of Police handled the fundraising efforts. The FOP maintained detailed accounting of every penny that was raised totaling $142,205.79. The funds were deposited in a separate account and every penny raised was given to an attorney representing the Waldenville family on October 6, 2011.
We would have preferred for any issues the Waldenville family had to at least contact us first so we could have sat down at the table and discussed specifics. Major Waldenville is still an employee of the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office and we look forward to his return whenever he is able. Over the past 18 months several co-workers have made attempts to keep John involved with his law enforcement family at the sheriff’s office and to have him come visit.
The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office misses our dear friend, he is loved, and his leadership is missed. We look forward to being able to see and work with him again.”
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