GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Their motto is "vets helping vets."On Wednesday afternoon, the local chapter of the Combat Veterans Association put those words into action. The group donated several wheelchairs and other equipment to some fellow veterans in need.
"We've got a little present for you. It's in this trailer that we're fixing to unload," said Cat Aguda, as his fellow vets prepared to roll out several wheel chairs and power scooters.
Combat Veterans Association Chapter 44 delivered happiness and hope in the form of wheelchairs and power scooters. Air Force veteran Willie Harvey Jr. was pleased to accept a scooter from his fellow vets.
"It's a blessing to me to be able to have something like this not coming out of my pocket. As you know, it's some hard times for us VA veterans, and we appreciate it," said Harvey.
Patrick Peterson couldn't wait to try out his new exercise bike.
"It's fantastic, awesome. Great," said Peterson. "I've gotten a piece of equipment that I can actually get out there and exercise more. I'm going to be a healthier person."
The Combat Veterans launched this project six months ago, finding a need to fill for some fellow servicemen.
"A lot of times they get fallen through the cracks through our federal services, but we're trying to do our best as a non-profit organization to help those in need," said Larry Castille, the Commander of the veterans group.
Seeing so many smiles made it more than worthwhile for those who organized this effort.
"Their need was wheelchairs as well as power scooters. We started getting one or two donated. I took them to my garage, fixed them up and here we are. Present them to some very needy veterans," said Aguda.
"A lot of people don't know we exist, and we just need stuff like this with you guys to get the word out there that we're here to help," said Jim Mitchell, with the Disabled American Veterans group.
"We hope all the veterans enjoy these wheelchairs," said Castille.
The Combat Vets are already planning an encore, collecting more wheelchairs and scooters and directing them to fellow vets who may have slipped through the cracks.
The Combat Veterans Association also worked with the Paralyzed Veterans of America to organize the project.
By the way, the group is still looking for donations of wheelchairs, scooters or other equipment which can be refurbished and distributed to veterans in need.