Wounded soldier Franz Walkup rejected for assistance

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A wounded warrior who has sacrificed so much for this country is struggling to get grant money or enough donations to build a handicapped accessible home.

Army Sergeant Franz Walkup was severely wounded while deployed in Afghanistan. But apparently he isn't considered "injured enough" to qualify for the help he needs.

"September 29, 2012, I was shot five times," Franz told WUSA9. He was inexplicably ambushed by the very Afghan Army members he and his unit were training.

"In the stomach and one through the back," he added.

Franz spent six months at Walter Reed and endured 78 surgeries. He was awarded the Purple Heart for his bravery.

"It's hard because it kind of feels like, my sacrifice wasn't great enough," he said.

When Franz and his wife Shannon applied for financial help to build a handicapped accessible home, the couple was rejected by at least five organizations.

"They act like getting shot five times wasn't enough. Because he didn't step on an IED. You didn't lose extremities," said Shannon Walkup, Franz's Wife.

Franz has his legs, but one of them doesn't work.

"I fit into that gray area where I have the loss of the limb, but I still have my limb," he explained.

His body is a roadmap of his injuries. A shattered pelvis, a broken leg. He lost his spleen and most of his small and large intestines.

"It kind of stresses me out because I'm working so many jobs. I can only do so much. He can't do much anymore," Shannon said.

"It's not just me that served and sacrificed," said Franz, proud to come from a military family - one of four brothers to serve. His older brother, Frank, was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb in 2007, three days before his 24th birthday.

"I just need a little three-bedroom house with 36 inch doors so I can fit a wheelchair through," he said.

Shannon has been by his side throughout the ordeal. They were newlyweds when he was injured.

"I'm very proud of him. Every single day. I'm very proud of you," she said, turning to her husband of two years and patting his arm.

Despite all they've been through, Franz and Shannon don't begrudge the wounded warriors who get priority - double and triple amputees and those with traumatic brain injuries.

The Walkups have applied for a grant from the Veterans Administration that could cover some of their costs, but they've been told there's an extraordinary backlog.

If you'd like to help, a GoFundMe account has been set up in Franz' name.

Written by Andrea McCarren, WUSA9


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