PERRY — A bank fund was established Monday to help a former soldier pay off a debt created after he was mistakenly arrested for an assault in Junction City, Kan.
The VA Fund for Shawn Dunbar was set up after several people suggested it or asked about helping after reading his story Sunday in The Oklahoman and on NewsOK.com, Dunbar said.
"If I'm fortunate enough to raise the money to clear my debt, I'll stop the fund," Dunbar said, adding he was somewhat overwhelmed and very pleased with the support he has received.
Dunbar, 25, was arrested April 27. The Geary County (Kan.) Sheriff's Department had listed Dunbar on a felony warrant after witnesses said a Shawn Dunbar had committed the assault.
Dunbar, of Stillwater, was cleared in August when the victim saw him sitting outside a Kansas courtroom and told authorities they had arrested the wrong man. Geary County deputies are now looking for a different Shawn Dunbar who lives in Kansas.
Because the Veterans Affairs Department is prohibited from paying benefits to wanted felons, the warrant and arrest interrupted Dunbar's disability benefits. Dunbar suffers from brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder related to his service in Iraq, where he said he disarmed improvised explosive devices.
VA owed money
After a Kansas judge dismissed the assault charge, the VA reinstated his benefits but said he owed money back because he had been given a one-time payment of $6,296, which constituted a duplication of benefits. The VA has applied his monthly benefit checks to pay the debt. He owes $3,442 on that debt.
Dunbar said he will shut down the fund once enough money is raised to pay off his debt.
The fund has been set up at the First Bank and Trust branch in Perry.
Those who wish to donate can mail a check to the bank, P.O. Box 878, Perry, OK 73077, or call the bank at (580) 336-5562. VA Fund for Shawn Dunbar should be written on the memo line. Transfers to routing number 103101631 can also be taken.
To read the story that
Sunday's edition of The Oklahoman and watch a video about Shawn Dunbar's struggle, go to NewsOK.com and search for "Shawn Dunbar."