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Double-amputee Air Force vet searching for wheelchair lost on Texas interstate

Air Force veteran Colton Read's custom Segs4Vets mobility chair. (Colton Read/Facebook)
March 16, 2021

A double amputee Air Force veteran is looking to his community for help in finding his custom-made wheelchair that fell out of his truck as he was driving in eastern San Antonio, Texas on March 9.

Colton Read, 32, was leaving the VA to get an oil change when his wheelchair disappeared from the back of his truck, KSAT reported. The specialty wheelchair has a square base with two wheels, is military OD green, and weighs 150 pounds.

“We were riding off I-10 and in between my route, we notice the strap was a little loose so we pulled over and doubled checked to make sure the strap was tight. We did that in front of Dixie Flag,” Read said. “When we started to drive, we went onto 410 and got onto I-10 and took that exit to go to the Flying J to get my oil changed and when we got there we realized my chair was no longer on the back of my truck.”

Read said he retraced his tracks multiple times, but his chair was nowhere to be found, ultimately reporting it lost to the San Antonio Police Department.

He made a Facebook post in an effort to find his missing chair.

Edit 2: it’s been almost a week, and I am still hopeful to get my chair back. If I’m not able to, Segs4vets will help me…

Posted by Colton Read on Thursday, March 11, 2021

Read lost both legs during major surgery complications while deployed in 2009. Upon developing pain in his right side, Read needed gallbladder surgery, which resulted in major complications causing him to lose 3 ½ liters of blood.

“When they tried to correct it, they did not repair the wound correctly,” Read said. “I went over eight hours with no blood flow to my legs. They told my wife that I wasn’t going to make it and that they did everything they could.”

Read did survive after doctors amputated both of his legs at the knees.

“I have been blessed with a support system of family and my wife,” Read said. “The hardest part was when I was out of the hospital, I was watching ‘Cops.’ I planned to retire from the military after 20 years and go into being a cop. I just broke down because I knew my life of becoming a cop was never going to happen.”

After losing his legs, Read was given a custom wheelchair from the nonprofit organization Segs4Vets.

“It is a unique chair,” Read said. “It is developed based off a Segway. Instead of having to control my movements with a joystick, I can just lean, and it goes. It helps because I have small daughters and I am able to hold them and steer at the same time.”

“I was thinking by now, someone had to have seen it and would have said something already,” Read said. “I am fearful that someone is trying to scrap it out. Segways are a unique commodity that a lot of people want. The batteries are hard to come by and I am fearful that someone is trying to scrap it out and sell the batteries and take it a part.”

According to Read, the chair is the “closest thing to having legs again.”

“It makes a big difference in every aspect of my life. Going out and playing with my kids in the backyard. Playing in the front. It affects my ability to be able to work. It is my most prized most valuable possession in my life,” Read said.

If Read is unable to find his chair, Segs4Vets has agreed to help him obtain a new one, and a GoFundMe fundraiser was formed to help the charity.