War hero amputee denied disabled parking permit
By David Menzies
September 9, 2010 – When it comes to establishing a benchmark for a disabled parking permit, surely the loss of a leg qualifies. Well, apparently losing a leg doesn’t count for much when it comes to the bumbling bureaucrats running the town of Newark, Nottinghamshire in England. According to the Daily Mail, Lance Corporal Johno Lee – who has been hailed as a war hero – lost a leg in Afghanistan two years ago. Yet, inexplicably, Lee has been
denied a disabled parking permit three times by the town’s council. Meter maids aren’t cutting Lee any slack, either. To date, the disabled veteran has racked up £800 in fines [a little over $1,250 US dollars] for parking in disabled spots on days when he uses a wheelchair or feels unable to walk very far. (Lee uses a prosthetic leg to get around.) As for the reason Nottinghamshire County Council has denied his application, Lee was told he’s “young” and “may get better.” Evidently, the Mensa Society members who lurk in the council chambers believe Lee has reptilian DNA coursing through his blood and much like a lizard that has lost its tail, it’s only a matter of time before Lee’s missing leg miraculously grows back. Not that these council members give a damn, but Lee’s right leg was amputated below the knee after he was caught up in an explosion in Helmand Province in 2008. Lee’s heart stopped twice: once on the helicopter taking him to Camp Bastion and once while on the operating table. He was revived each time, although it’s highly unlikely his amputated leg will ever “get better.” “Sometimes the leg swells so badly I can’t even get the prosthetic leg on,” says Lee. “I then have to park in disabled bays otherwise I can’t get into town, but then I get a ticket. If I live for another 60 years, am I expected to continue to have to struggle for all of that time?” In a statement, Nottinghamshire County Council Service Director Paul McKay notes: “We [council members] are looking into the matter and have arranged for a member of staff to meet Mr. Lee to review the situation. We will urgently assess whether he meets the criteria for a disabled parking badge as laid down by the Department of Transport.” Bottom line: Lee’s saga is yet another example of bureaucracy run amuck. It is egregious beyond words that a young man who put his life on the line for his country is being denied a parking permit. And getting nailed for a small fortune in parking tickets amounts to insult to injury. Lee lost a leg – and almost his life – serving his country. He has a disability. What, exactly, needs to be “looked into?” And why hasn’t anyone issued Lee an apology and reimbursement?