Fund-raiser to help buy prosthetic for Vietnam veteran in nursing home

       Paul Hogan survived the Vietnam War intact, but about a year ago diabetes claimed his left leg below the knee.
       Because it's not from a war wound, the Veterans Administration would not buy the 74-year-old resident of Cedarwood Health Care Center a prosthetic.
       So the center's staff is organizing a raffle, scheduled Wednesday, Aug. 2, to raise money for the cause. Because of issues as to whether a working replacement would be effective in his case, the goal is to buy Paul what's called an aesthetic prosthetic.
       “It's a quality of life, dignity issue, “ said Mary Ellen Snyder, a Cedarwood physical therapist who donated many of the items that will be raffled. She pointed out that the VA initially gave the three-year Cedarwood resident a used prosthetic, then took it away. The reasons are not totally clear, but it appears to be related to how well the device fit.
       People are welcome to help out by buying raffle tickets. So far the response has been good, according to Cedarwood administrator Deanna Leyba. “We've had people come in and say they didn't want tickets; they just wanted to donate,” she said. “The first day, $50 came in.”
       The center, which started in 1957, is at 924 W. Kiowa St. The phone is 636-5221.
       “We're trying to do what we can to preserve Paul's dignity and provide him with a measure of comfort,” said Cedarwood social worker Sharon Smith, who's been working closely with Snyder on the fund-raiser.
       He'll feel better “when he looks down there and sees two legs, not an empty pantleg,” Snyder added.
       Hogan says he's fine with that, although “I'd like to be able to walk again.”

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