Repairs to disabled veteran’s wheelchair delayed by almost a month

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ST. LOUIS - A local Marine had his wheelchair damaged on a flight and it hasn’t been fixed yet.

LCpl. Joey Avellone served his country as a Marine working in special ops. In 2002, he suffered an injury that left him paralyzed. His wheelchair is his livelihood. Unfortunately, it was broken while traveling on a Delta flight.

Delta hired a company to fix it. But as of May 25, 2018, it wasn’t fixed. So, Fox 2/KPLR 11 went to Belleville to see if we could help.

“The plastic arm holders got chipped up," Avellone said. "You can see the tears and cuts in my skin.”

The wheelchair was damaged on April 30. Wheelchair company Numotion did come to his house quickly to fix the chair, but Joey said the technician ordered the wrong parts and accidentally broke his wheel while fixing the other issues on the chair. Joey said the wheel is now rubbing the wheel protector. They had an appointment set up for next week. However, when FOX 2 called Numotion with Avellone Friday, they said they couldn’t guarantee it would be fixed next week.

“Damaging someone's wheelchair is like...damaging your or any other able-bodied persons legs. Like cutting off your legs,” said Avellone.

Avellone is leaving next Saturday for a vacation trip to Bonaire to go snorkeling. He's worried about his chair not being fixed and ruining the trip. He is hoping the company can fix his chair before his trip.

“I definitely do not want to be in a foreign country with a chair that is unsafe,” he said.

Late Friday afternoon, Numotion called Avellone right before this story aired and said they would get him all fixed and ready to go before his trip next week.

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