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LJWorld.com weblogs The Front Lines

Veteran finally to undergo back surgery

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On Tuesday, nearly three years after he was injured in an explosion during the war on terror, Army veteran Gary Connellis will undergo back surgery.

It has been a long, painful wait for someone with a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis. And those are just the problems with his back.

Periodically during the past several months The Front Lines has outlined some of the bureaucratic problems Connellis has experienced in dealing with the Army after he was injured and honorably discharged with disabilities, and especially with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Connellis, a former police officer in New York City, Lawrence and a couple of other Kansas towns, was almost evicted last October from his Leavenworth apartment, where he lives with his wife and daughter, because he didn’t have enough money for rent. Family members and friends came to his rescue, and he continues to receive financial help from them.

Connellis also has post traumatic stress disorder. He said he is now seeing his fifth VA counselor in about a year’s time. Most of them left for jobs outside the VA, he said.

The Kansas National Guard a couple of weeks ago announced that it was sending 180 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 137th Infantry Regiment to Saudi Arabia for a joint exercise with the Saudis. About 50 of those soldiers are from the company based in Lawrence.

Comments

Ivanamelendeztrabosci 5 years, 1 month ago

Hi Gary, I hope you are recovering well and your family is doing fine. I emailed you, dont know if you received it. If not, here is my email address, candie.angel@yahoo.com My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Iva

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Alia Ahmed 5 years, 1 month ago

Hang in there, Gary and many kudos to your wife for taking such good care of you.

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disabledveterangvcptsd 5 years, 1 month ago

Thank you Ivana and God Bless you and your family. You have always been an inspiration to me. I too have a family originally from Bayamon! I was wounded in the War on Terror. To all who have written, except the one that was removed, thank you so much for your continued support. I was in the hospital for a week and I am now bedbound. My wonderful wife is taking care of me. The VA would not send a home health aide. They turned down the Doctor's request, but like I said I have the best person taking care of me. I am very much in pain, I am trying to walk a little at a time and I am very groggy. All of your support, bloggers, help me more than you know. When I read the comment that idiot wrote yesterday it really hurt, but this excellent newspaper removed it. Thank you LJ World. Thank You Mr.Belt. In reference to that BAD POST yesterday: I did fight the WAR on Terror. ALL over the world, but as I said in past blogs I raised my right hand and swore under my SECURITY Clearance and to the US Constitution I will keep all missions to myself. (I forget the exact wording,but you get the point). Plain and simple: I joined the US Army voluntarily to fight the War on Terror all over the world. Unfortunately a blast in a combat zone put me out of the Army. Yes, of course I was hurt prior to that in training excercises/missions. An LOD, Line of Duty, report was filled out , investigated thourougly and I received my monthly pay. The only thing I am bitter about is when someone intentionally attempts to defame my character and when the VA is so very slow in getting my family and I our pay, especially when all has been confirmed. I wish I could go back in the Army and continue fighting! God Bless you all and God Bless the USA! Now, I am going back to sleep.

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Ivanamelendeztrabosci 5 years, 1 month ago

Hi Gary, We have lost touch over the years. I heard about your story and literally cried. I have had so much respect for you not only because of all you have done in your life but also because of the kind spirit you have always shown in your heart. You are a true inspiration to us all and I will always hold you in the highest regard. I wish only the best for you and your family through these rough times. You are a true American hero. Your long lost friend from rockland, Ivana Trabosci (melendez)

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bearded_gnome 5 years, 1 month ago

hey Gary! nice to see you posting, you're recovering from the surgery and still got some kick! good. I'll phone you in the next couple days!

hang in there and know that most of us appreciate your service and sacrifice. sadly there's no driving test for people regarding driving their computers.

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jmgomets13 5 years, 1 month ago

ArcAngel174 don't stop going to your shrink, sounds like you have alot of unresolved issues. I will pray for you. Connellis, I wish for a speedy recovery!!!! Shame on you ArcAngel!!!! You sound very threatening to Connellis, should I report you to the authorities that you may be threatening to another soldier?I feel SORRY for you ArcAngel174.

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disabledveterangvcptsd 5 years, 1 month ago

First of all I never said I was in Iraq, but my wounds are combat wounds. You think you know who I am, well my attorneys as well as the JAG officers know who you are. There were no medical holdover units for us in Ft.Bliss therefore I was assigned to a TRADOC unit. In less than one year I watched over 4 Sgt.'s be Dishonorably Discharged from my TRADOC unit for ILLEGAL NARCOTIC Usage. We are very happy you gave out your e-mail because this just gives us more evidence to come after you civilly and criminally. It is to bad you are jealous of this honest and sincere soldier whom never left a fallen comrade behind. The VA is not giving money away to us Disabled Veterans based on our word, rightfully so, they received over 4 LOD's (Line of Duty reports) from myself. Well then were you one of the Sergeants whom were under investigation for selling missile parts?? Do you remember when our CO, E-8, 2 E-7's and one E-6 asked me over 3 times if I was a CID Agent? All of you current and former soldiers know this is a big no, no. It is to bad you are not a true brother. If you really knew my injuries/wounds why did you write just about a car accident. You are truly the one who needs help here, because if you really knew me you would have listed all of my LOD's, better yet you would have said get well brother, Sounds like you need help , I know you are going to need legal help. I will make a very serious suggestion to you: Write a retraction to your dishonest article and stop at once defaming a fallen, honest and sincere soldier whom was Wounded in the Line of Duty.

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arc_angel74 5 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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workinghard 5 years, 1 month ago

I recently met a vetern that was told by the VA four months ago that she had a growth, probably cancer in her lung. The VA is just now authourizing treatment, but because it has grown from marble size to orange size in four months, it will be major surgery. She will be in the hospital for a couple of weeks then laid up for 6 to 8 weeks. She lost her job because of the lung problems and has no income other than child support and no family in town. She is a single mother with one child who can no longer go to preschool because mom has no job to pay for it. What is she suppose to do with the child for two weeks (no family to take her) plus pay rent? Had the VA provided treatment right away most of this probably could have been avoided. If it is indeed cancer, is it too late and now fatal? This girl was recuited right out of high school with all sorts of promises which are not being honored. Remember that when they call your teen when they hit their senior year.

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Alia Ahmed 5 years, 1 month ago

Good luck, Gary, with your surgery.

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