Prosthetic legs of a black veteran repossessed after government refuses to cover cost

January 15, 2020 at 01:30 pm | Activism & Campaigns, News

Novieku-Babatunde Adeola

Novieku-Babatunde Adeola | Staff Writer

January 15, 2020 at 01:30 pm | Activism & Campaigns, News

Decorated war hero, Jerry Holliman, has decried the injustice from the United States Veterans Association after it repossessed his new prosthetic legs.

Holliman’s hope of returning to his Hattiesburg home and living an independent life was dashed in a  nursing home for military veterans two days before Christmas.

Jerry Holliman
Jerry Holliman was fitted for prosthetic legs last August
after losing both limbs to diabetes_Photo: PurpleHeartHomeUSA.org

Holliman’s limbs have since been returned, but the Mississippi man says he still can’t use them — turning his temporary stay at a local veteran’s home into a stopover with no end in sight.

“‘I’ve been here over a year. I wanna go home,” Holliman told the Mississippi Clarion Ledger. “This place is not for me. It’s a dignified place for these guys to die, that’s what it is.”

Holliman has served twice as an active military member. Despite his service, the Veteran Association stated that it won’t cover the entire cost of prosthetic legs which ABC News reports costs between  $5,000 to $50,000.

Jerry Holliman earned two Bronze Stars like this one, which hangs in a display showcasing various U.S. service medals at G. V. Sonny Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson, Miss. The Bronze Star Medal is a decoration awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for either achievement, merit or valor in a combat zone.
Jerry Holliman earned two Bronze Stars like this one, which hangs in a display showcasing various U.S. service medals at G. V. Sonny Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson, Miss. The Bronze Star Medal is a decoration awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for either achievement, merit or valor in a combat zone._Photo: Sarah Warnock, Clarion Ledger

The 69-year-old was encouraged to file a Medicare claim, but the government wants to stick him with the co-pay.

Clearly frustrated, Holliman believes the country is forgetting about him.

“Medicare did not send me to Vietnam,” Holliman said. “I was sent there by my country… with the understanding that if something bad happened to me, that it would be covered by the VA.”

At 18, Holliman volunteered to fight for his country in Vietnam. After  40 years in the U.S. Army and participating in 37 convoy missions in Iraq from 2004-2005, he was honorably discharged in 2010, earning Bronze Stars in both wars.

It was while he was in Vietnam that he was exposed to Agent Orange. According to Clarionledger, the chemical was used by the American military to kill vegetation. The chemical also caused diseases to Vietnamese and U.S. Service members, including cancers and diabetes.

Holliman survived three forms of cancer but in recent years, diabetes began affecting his legs.

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