A disabled veteran that was severely beaten for trying to stop three men from killing a turtle has been rewarded with a free car. Daytona Beach Kia-Mitsubishi gave Garry Blough, a 45-year-old Navy veteran, keys to a 2012 Kia Forte after the incident was brought to their attention by another veteran, former Marine Paula Mongeon.
Blough suffered head contusions and a black eye after confronting three men who were repeatedly smashing a turtle into the pavement near a pond. Blough was previously injured during the Persian Gulf War and now has to cope with daily seizures. Because of his disability, he was unable to work and lives on a fixed income.
The family was facing financial troubles and was unable to afford a vehicle, making even the most mundane day-to-day activities a struggle for the already disabled veteran. The family was forced to take public transportation to doctor appointments, the grocery store, and even the hospital.
“There were only so many bags you could carry,” Blough told reporters.
He also told the media that he was forced to walk 1.7 miles back to his apartment after being hospitalized while trying to defend the turtle because they didn’t own a vehicle of their own and could’t afford cab fare.
Mongeon, a Marine veteran, heard about the attack and convinced sales manager Todd Flis at the dealership to lend a helping hand to the disabled veteran. On Wednesday, the Blough family visited the dealership so that owner Richard Nisbett could personally lead them to their brand new vehicle.
Blough couldn’t help but burst out into tears when the keys were placed in his hand. Nisbett also admits that he had trouble holding back tears of joy when he saw Blough’s reaction.
“When we read the story, our heart went out,” he said.
Blough called the gift a “godsend” and states that the vehicle will save family countless hours that would normally be spent using public transportation.