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Neighbor rallies to restore what thieves took from disabled Edmond veteran

An Army veteran who lost his legs and an arm in Afghanistan suffered another loss. The tires and rims were stolen from his customized SUV. But a grateful neighbor stepped in to replace them.
by Robert Medley Modified: June 13, 2013 at 10:11 pm •  Published: June 13, 2013

Rusty Dunagan lost two legs and an arm fighting for his country in Afghanistan.

Back home in Oklahoma, others helped the Army veteran raise money to buy a customized sport utility vehicle with a wheelchair lift that he could drive.

This week, when someone stole the tires and wheels from the SUV, another stepped in again, and now Dunagan is back on the road.

“I'm definitely extremely grateful,” Dunagan said. “You see a lot of bad things on the news every day, and it seems the news is more negative than positive, but we have a community that wants to help out and came together.”

On Sept. 22, 2010, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dunagan stepped on an improvised explosive device while on a mission in Afghanistan. The explosive blew off both legs and his left arm.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Wounded Warrior program helped obtain a grant to buy the $60,000 customized SUV with a power lift for Dunagan's wheelchair.

Overnight Sunday, the tires and wheels — worth about $3,200 — were stolen while the vehicle was parked in the driveway at Dunagan's home in the Trails North addition.

Monday morning, he found the SUV sitting on landscaping rocks used for blocks.

A neighbor who wants to remain anonymous paid for the new tires, Dunagan said.

The help from the neighbor comes at a good time, Dunagan said. His wife, Angie, is expecting another child. They have four children already.

“It's weird how things work out,” Dunagan said.

by Robert Medley
Breaking News Reporter
Robert Medley has been a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1989, covering various news beats in the Oklahoma City metro area and in the Norman news bureau. He has been part of the breaking news team since 2008. A 1987 University of Oklahoma...
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