War veteran fights for benefits - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

War veteran fights for benefits

December 8, 2004

Lowndes County - Books filled with pictures remind Harvey Luke of his time in the Navy, along with the reminder he wears on his leg each day. "I fractured my right ankle during that ball game and was admitted to Balbay Navy Hospital in San Diego," said Luke.

Luke was injured while playing in a Navy softball game and had to undergo surgery. 239 days later, he was released from the hospital and honorably discharged from the Navy. "I should've received a temporary discharge due to disability or a permanent discharge and all these years I should've been getting that check every month," said Luke.

But instead, Luke says mistakes were made in his Naval medical records. One document shows he never had a fractured ankle, and another section even claims he died. Since the surgery, he's suffered from severe arthritis and has trouble walking. Now he's hired a lawyer and filed suit to fight for the financial help all disabled veterans deserve. "I was cut off for 28 years and in 1989 they reinstated me and backpaid me for 18 months instead of 28 years at 10 percent," said Luke.

It's been an ongoing struggle for 15 years now. "It's been a tough battle," said Luke.

But Luke says despite all the financial trouble its caused, he'd never take back the injury or his time in the service. "I love our country and I love to serve, I just didn't like the mistreatment," said Luke.

And he won't give up until he gets back the benefits he's lost.

posted at 3:55 p.m. by ashley.harper@walb.com