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Wife of veteran opts not to celebrate Veterans Day

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Posted at 5:17 PM, Nov 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-11 21:02:21-05

Karen Garner is not participating in any parades, marches or activities involving Veterans Day. It is not because she is against veterans; it is to show support to her husband, a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force. 

Garner is spreading her message through a Facebook post that has garnered more than 2,000 shares as of Wednesday evening.

Her husband, 53-year-old Jim Garner, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago, which forced Karen to quit her job and take care of her husband full time. Jim Garner is unable to speak or write, and has to have assistance to use the restroom or get dressed.

Alzheimer’s is a neurological disorder that typically strikes older adults, but can affect people in their 40s or 50s. In addition to losing the ability to communicate, those with the disease experience memory loss, disorientation and impaired judgment.

According to Karen, her husband does not qualify for care through the Department of Veterans Affairs. According to Karen Garner’s Facebook post, it costs the family $4,000 a month to care for Jim.

He is unable to receive assistance from the V.A. as the disease came after he left the service in 2005. Karen said she has met with officials all the way up to the U.S. Senate with no luck.

“Although Jim is a 23-year Air Force veteran and retiree, he does not qualify for any support from the V.A. that would pay for the care he needs,” she said. “It makes me sick to see how our elected officials celebrate Veterans Day and talk about the sacrifices our men and women in uniform make, and to see companies honor veterans with empty words.”

The Garners has set up a GoFundMe page, which has raised $33,310 in the last two months. Karen also is an author of a blog updating those concerned about her husband’s progress.

Jim Garner served in the Air Force for 23 years, obtaining the rank of senior master sergeant. After retiring from the force in 2005, he spent seven years as a government contractor before losing his job during government layoffs in 2012, according to Karen Garner’s blog.

United States Department of Veterans Affairs | Graphiq