American Legion Helps Disabled Army Veteran Get Active Outdoors


Amber McGee suffers from intermittent partial paralysis of the sciatic nerve due to an accident during her service in the United States Army. As someone who likes to be active, McGee’s injury doesn’t allow her to run because it causes back pain or to ride a bike because sitting numbs her legs. But McGee discovered that the elliptical is the only piece of cardio equipment that doesn’t cause back or leg pain, which has left her wondering if there is a cycling version that would allow her to go out. .

McGee found what she was looking for at a local bike store in her hometown of Burlington, Iowa – an elliptical trainer. She tested it, had no back or leg problems, and said to herself, “This is exactly what I was looking for. I want to be more active. I want to have a better quality of life.

The only downside was the cost. So McGee searched online for help getting an elliptical trainer and came across the American Legion Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW) program. She applied for an OCW grant and now has her own elliptical trainer.

“Every time I see it I have a huge smile on my face. It makes me so happy,” said McGee, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom / Operation Iraqi Freedom. “It’s really cool, and it gives me so much cardio. My dogs (who run alongside him on the elliptical trainer) love it too. With this bike I can really go exploring what is so nice.

Before applying for an OCW grant, McGee was aware of the support the American Legion provides to veterans. An American Legion duty officer helped her “fight the battle to get my disability (VA service-related) down to 100% disability,” McGee said. “Which was a fight, I didn’t know how to do it so they were with me the whole way it was amazing for me.

As winter conditions have gripped Iowa, McGee’s time outdoors with the elliptical strider isn’t always an option, but the OCW grant has also provided an indoor trainer. Something McGee really appreciates.

“Having this bike changes my life,” she said.

For more information on the American Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors program and how to apply for a grant, please visit


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