Disabled veteran awarded special home decides to move out
A sad follow up and what would seem to be a stinging indictment of the Central Texas VA system.
We first met disabled veteran Michael Ryan and his wife Carelyn in June of 2012 when they moved into their dream house.
The house outside Georgetown was custom built to accommodate his disabilities and given to them free of charge by a local builder and a veteran service group.
Now three years later they are selling it and leaving Central Texas.
Three years ago, it was a wonderful story. The new house meant a new beginning for the Ryans.
Mike was deserving of the opportunity. He was injured in an attack in Iraq and was judged 90 percent disabled by the VA.
He had his limbs but also had a traumatic brain injury, PTSD, constant pain, short term memory loss, tremors, and balance and vision problems.
Their new house was designed to meet his specific needs.
When Careylyn gave us the tour back then she was euphoric.
"This is so fun...I'm enjoying it...but it is so unreal."
Now the reality is the "for sale" sign out front. This dream is over.
"Nobody can understand how much of my soul was connected here...and it's so sad I have to say goodbye."
"It's been a really difficult decision especially for me...I take a while to attach to things...I don't handle change well and things are changing rapidly...so it's been very difficult."
So why are they leaving?
They say they aren't getting the healthcare support they need from the VA in Central Texas.
"It's not o.k. to watch my husband in pain all the time when I know there's help out there for him and the VA here just doesn't do anything about it...they just don't."
She doesn't know if the VA is overloaded and overwhelmed, but she does know Michael isn't getting any better.
She says he needs specialists and the VA won't deliver.
She says for example Michael takes 18 medications they pay for 15 of them, the VA pays for three.
The Ryans have tried to ask for more comprehensive care for the local VA, they have the paperwork to prove it but they just couldn't wait any longer.
Careylyn turned to other vets and their wives through social media, based on that they believe the VA in the Amarillo area could meet their needs better.
"The doctors care. They want to make sure the vet is taken care of...if they can't get the care in the VA system they outsource you to who you need to go see...and that's who we need for Michael's care."
They are optimistic about the move, but it comes with a heavy heart and some guilt.
"I'm so undeserving to have this...and here I am living a dream and I have to say goodbye and go."