Paralyzed firefighter to lose health benefits - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

A face to Detroit's bankruptcy: Paralyzed firefighter to lose health benefits

Posted: Updated:

By Charlie LeDuff, Fox 2 News

The federal government has money problems.

So, imagine the federal government telling wounded warriors coming back from overseas that they'll no longer take care of them, and instead, those veterans will get $200 a month for healthcare and a pair of broom sticks to walk around on.

Outrageous right?

Well that's what Detroit's wounded warriors, those who wore the badge and honorably served the community, are going to get if the bankruptcy stands as is.

Here's one of those warriors, firefighter Brendan Milewski, in his own words.

"August 13, 2010 - Friday the 13th - I was only at work for a couple minutes, never even stepped foot in the firehouse, taking my gear out of the car. We've got to run down to Jefferson and Drexel. We were working on the scene for ten, fifteen minutes and, without warning, a building collapsed on us.

"I was hit with a chunk of limestone the size of a parking block, and that basically exploded my seventh thoracic vertebra. Now I'm left to live the rest of my life as a T6 Paraplegic.

"It's a complete loss of identity for me, to be in this position now and not amongst my peers, and seen as weak and feeble and handicapped and disabled. I hate all these words. I hate that they describe me.

"I always understood that death was a legitimate possibility; I've seen enough of my friends die. I can't say Walter Harris' name enough. I never considered being injured to the point where I wasn't going to be who I was before, and having to live with the consequences. One would only assume that you make these kind of sacrifices at work, performing your job, that you'd be taken care of.

"I got a letter saying that my healthcare, through the city of Detroit, was going to be terminated as of January 1, 2014, and that, if I don't have another plan purchased by December 15th of this year, that I'll have a gap in coverage. And they're offering a $200 a month stipend to supplement the cost of purchasing my own health insurance.

"I definitely feel discarded. It's disheartening that guys like me put ourselves on the line everyday. These Detroit firemen, they put their lives, their bodies, on the line every day.

"When there's a school shooting, or when there's a building fire or a whatever, a car accident, hazardous chemical release - soldiers don't' show up. When you call 911 - we do. We're the first line of defense. And sacrificing our lives, our health, one would only assume that we would be taken care of.

"I do nine hours of physical therapy a week to keep from atrophy from my muscles shrinking up, losing mass and shriveling away. I have to insert a plastic tube in my penis so I can pee for the rest of my life. That costs money.

"The benefits that we got, they weren't given to us. They were earned. These guys worked their asses off for said 30, 40 years, sacrificing life and ... health. The least they could do is have some sort of security after they're gone, after the fires are out."

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Community wants justice as investigation of Armada teen's murder continues

    Community wants justice as investigation of Armada teen's murder continues

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:40 PM EDT2014-07-31 21:40:23 GMT
    Wearing pink, the mother of 14-year-old April Millsap's boyfriend -- remembered the teen Thursday as the small village of Armada tries to cope."It's very hard, it's in such a spotlight, as a mom you don't think it's going to be like this," said Monique Albertson, mother of April Millsap's boyfriend. "Everyone is just hanging in there the best we can. It's overwhelming."Albertson, joining hundreds of people, police, classmates - most wearing pink which was April Millsap's favorite color."We're...
    Wearing pink, the mother of 14-year-old April Millsap's boyfriend -- remembered the teen Thursday as the small village of Armada tries to cope."It's very hard, it's in such a spotlight, as a mom you don't think it's going to be like this," said Monique Albertson, mother of April Millsap's boyfriend. "Everyone is just hanging in there the best we can. It's overwhelming."Albertson, joining hundreds of people, police, classmates - most wearing pink which was April Millsap's favorite color."We're...
  • Romulus cop in hot water after road rage incident

    Romulus cop in hot water after road rage incident

    Thursday, July 31 2014 4:47 PM EDT2014-07-31 20:47:41 GMT
    An off duty Romulus police officer is facing felony charges in connection with a road rage incident.Officer David Brooks is facing felonious assault and felony firearms charges after an investigation by Van Buren Township detectives.According to the report, police responded to a road rage incident between two trucks on I-94 in Belleville on May 29th.Van buren police pulled one of the trucks over which was driven by Brooks, and found a loaded handgun in the car.Brooks was released on personal ...
    An off duty Romulus police officer is facing felony charges in connection with a road rage incident.Officer David Brooks is facing felonious assault and felony firearms charges after an investigation by Van Buren Township detectives.According to the report, police responded to a road rage incident between two trucks on I-94 in Belleville on May 29th.Van buren police pulled one of the trucks over which was driven by Brooks, and found a loaded handgun in the car.Brooks was released on personal ...
  • SOURCES: Detroit Tigers acquire pitcher David Price

    SOURCES: Detroit Tigers acquire pitcher David Price

    Thursday, July 31 2014 4:46 PM EDT2014-07-31 20:46:10 GMT
    The Tigers have acquired pitcher David Price from the Rays in a three-team trade that reportedly involves the Mariners, according to reports. The clubs have not commented on or confirmed the report.  Jackson goes to Mariners; Smyly, Franklin also involved in three-way deal
    The Tigers have acquired pitcher David Price from the Rays in a three-team trade that reportedly involves the Mariners, according to reports. The clubs have not commented on or confirmed the report.  Jackson goes to Mariners; Smyly, Franklin also involved in three-way deal
  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


  • FOX 2 News Five-Day Forecast
  • Charlie LeDuff: Off The ChainCharlie LeDuff: Off The ChainMore>>

  • Sayonara Bingaling

    Sayonara Bingaling

    Friday, December 13 2013 7:35 PM EST2013-12-14 00:35:18 GMT
    LeDuff: From my perch, I can say Bing was a mayor who preferred to get his nails polished but never dirty.
    LeDuff: From my perch, I can say Bing was a mayor who preferred to get his nails polished but never dirty.
  • LeDuff goes inside massive Detroit Police raid

    LeDuff goes inside massive Detroit Police raid

    Tuesday, December 3 2013 7:57 PM EST2013-12-04 00:57:27 GMT
    On Tuesday, police in Detroit teamed up with Michigan State Police and federal law enforcement officers to conduct a massive raid the size of a city block.
    On Tuesday, police in Detroit teamed up with Michigan State Police and federal law enforcement officers to conduct a massive raid the size of a city block.
  • Is this the crest of dawn in this thing we call a city?

    Is this the crest of dawn in this thing we call a city?

    Friday, November 8 2013 6:12 PM EST2013-11-08 23:12:53 GMT
    LeDuff: Darkness Rules. And then on a corner of a street called Crusade, a case of what should be considered normal becomes the extraordinary:a streetlight gets repaired. And the curtains get pulled back from the iron door.
    LeDuff: Darkness Rules. And then on a corner of a street called Crusade, a case of what should be considered normal becomes the extraordinary: a streetlight gets repaired. And the curtains get pulled back from the iron door.
Powered by WorldNow

KSAZ-TV & KUTP
511 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Phone: (602) 257-1234
Fax: (602) 262-0177

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices