WASHINGTON TERRACE — Jason Cody has lived in the Ogden area pretty much his entire life, except for his time during the Vietnam War.
Anyone who knows a veteran knows that many enjoy being independent, which is why it’s tough for Cody to ask for help. But his freedom may depend on it.
"I'm pushing myself, living alone like this," the Washington Terrace resident said, gesturing around the basement apartment he's called home for the past four years.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Cody's new black-and-yellow wheelchair was stolen from outside his home because he can't take it downstairs to his basement apartment.
"I kind of suspect somebody just decided they needed that wheelchair more than I did, or maybe (thought) they could sell it and make some money," Cody said.
The wheelchair, worth roughly $500, was donated to him by the Knights of Columbus so he could go out with his friends.
That wheelchair gave him the type of freedom his electric chair doesn't.
"That manual one, that gives me access to the world of vehicles and cars, and so my friends can come and get me," he said.
A Vietnam veteran, Cody suffers from several health issues: heart disease, bad lungs and post-traumatic stress disorder, to name a few.
There are some things you can’t unsee. "Bad dreams, that's the worst part," Cody said.
But through it all, he's kept on going — until he just couldn't go anymore.
He reported the theft to the Weber County Sheriff's Office, but there's only so much investigators can do. Cody is hoping that getting his story, and pictures of the wheelchair, out to the public will give him a better chance of getting it back.
"I hope they catch the guy. If the thieves are going to keep it, they’re going to have to keep it inside,” he said with a laugh.
The chair has a very distinctive look. It’s canary yellow with black trim, and it also has the words Knights of Columbus on the side.
After hearing his story, the Utah Elks veterans committee chairman contacted Cody Tuesday and arranged to have another wheelchair donated to him later this week. However, Weber County deputies would still like to find out what happened to the stolen wheelchair.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Cody's chair is asked to contact the Weber County Sheriff's Office at 801-629-8221.
Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc