Wheelchair-Bound Iraq War Veteran Wins Specially-Equipped Silverado (VIDEO)

By Emma Koch - 21Alive

December 27, 2013 Updated Dec 27, 2013 at 6:30 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) -- Earlier this year, Summit City Chevrolet received a deluxe 2013 Chevrolet Silverado that was specially-equipped with a wheelchair lift and special hand controls to enable a wheelchair-bound person the ability to easily board and drive the vehicle.

Realizing that this vehicle was special, John Garcia and Jane DeHaven, Summit City's owners, decided that, rather than selling the $65,000 vehicle on the open market, the dealership would instead donate it to a deserving disabled vet as a way of saying thank you for their sacrifice.

After joining forces with media partners, 21Alive and 98.1 "The Bear", Summit City began publicizing a call for residents of northeast Indiana to nominate their "wounded warrior" by sending Summit City a brief letter and photograph of their nominee and explain why he or she deserves to win the pickup. Thursday a drawing from the entries was made and the winner is an Iraq war veteran and father of four who was nominated by his wife.

"It is great to say "thank you" in such a big way to an individual so deserving," says Garcia. "And what better time than during this season to give back to someone who has given so much."

Following is an expert from the winning nomination:

I nominate my husband because he is an amazing man. He has taken what happened and completely turned it around and used it to lead himself to his dream! He lost his leg in Iraq in 2006 above the knee. He can't wear a prosthetic because of a back fusion that was a result of the attack. He had metal plates put in both forearms, an amputation, traumatic brain injury, PTSD, broken facial bones, broken vertebrae and the list goes on. He was an avid runner. In high school and college he ran track and cross country. His dream was to be an olympian. When he joined the military he was best in his physical tests and was one of the fastest guys to rise through the ranks. The night of June 3, 2006 took his dreams away- HE THOUGHT! While at Walter Reed Army Medical Center he was introduced to hand cycles. This was one way to get his physical life back. He has been hand cycling for 2 years now with a goal of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. He is an amazing husband and father. He goes out and with stares he coaches our kids teams. He deals with people not wanting their kids to play for someone in a wheelchair. He gives his testimony of how God saved him that night on June 3, 2006 and how being in a wheelchair doesn't have to stop your dreams, it just changes the course. I would love to see him win something that he needs/wants. This would make transporting his bike and chair easier on him! He's very independent and will not let others help him put his chair in the car so just being able to lift it up and over the back would be awesome! Thank you for listening to my story!




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