RALEIGH, N.C. — Thursday was a bittersweet Veterans Day for a local man who gave 13 years of his life to the military. Tim Wallen is about to report to duty -- again. It's not that he doesn't want to serve his country, but he's not sure what he can do to help.
As a soldier, Wallen drove many military trucks. A handicapped-accessible van is how he gets around today.
After 10 years of service, Wallen left the Army and joined the Reserves.
Three years ago, a freak off-duty accident left him paralyzed.
Today, Wallen has new challenges, but he's still fighting an old battle.
For the third time in recent months, the 34-year-old received mobilization papers.
Wallen has spent hours on the phone and mailed in his medical papers to the Army.
But the Army won't give up.
"This is equal to harassment," Wallen said. "It's constant, continuous, never-ceasing and it's taking away from my life."
"Wallen wants the issue settled once and for all. So Saturday morning he's loading up and heading down Interstate 95 to report for duty."
Today, he went for a haircut.
"If they can find something for me to do, hey, I'll do it," Wallen said.
Even with a new look, he longs for the old times. On this Veterans Day, he only wishes he could actually serve.
"Aside from my children, there's nothing in the world I'd want more than to walk in and say, 'Hey lets go do it,'" Wallen said.
Wallen admits his trip to Fort Jackson South Carolina on Saturday is about making a statement, but he says there's another reason he's going too: "Simply because it's my duty."
When Wallen's story was first reported by WRAL in August, a representative of the Army Human Resources Command said Wallen's old unit never forwarded his medical records to them.
The representative assured Wallen an exemption board would handle the matter, which still hasn't happened.