COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – WHNT News 19 is Taking Action on behalf of one of our nations service heroes. A Colbert County Army Veteran has multiple disabilities, and he is all but confined to his home.

Gary Hartwell served his country with pride for more than 13-years. He was in the Persian Gulf when Desert Storm commenced. Hartwell was forced into an early retirement when he suffered a head injury while with the 2nd Army Cavalry Division. He’s left with chronic vertigo and mobility issues stemming from seizures.

Gary Hartwell

“Sometimes it’s painful; sometimes it’s scary. Sometimes it’s both,” Hartwell described.

Hartwell had to move from his home in Tuscumbia to one in Cherokee so he could be looked after. Veterans Affairs had built a wheelchair ramp for him in Tuscumbia, but when he moved they told him he was on his own. The VA will only build one ramp for each veteran.

“How do you expect a person that needs a wheelchair ramp to move a wheelchair ramp of their own,” said Hartwell.

As it is right now, Hartwell is pretty much confined to his home or front porch. His wheelchair is in storage, because without a ramp to travel on – what’s the point?

“I can get short distances, but it is just going up and down the steps; it’s scary,” Hartwell explained.

So this is a call to action for help. With limited funds, Hartwell needs the public’s assistance to build a wheelchair ramp at his new home. Something this well-deserving veteran would appreciate.

If you or a group would be interested in building a wheelchair ramp for Gary Hartwell, please email your information to Shoals Bureau Chief Carter Watkins at and he will make sure it gets in the right hands.