ALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich. – Jason Wright said he gave 12 years of his life to the military.
He started service first as a Marine, then enlisted in the Army.
Wright was wounded in battle twice, but he wasn’t awarded the Purple Heart until four years after coming home from Iraq.
His wife Amy says she found two envelopes stuffed in the bottom of the front door. Inside were ten military medals, including two Purple Hearts.
“I was in shock,” Wright said about the way he finally got his medals. “I was disrespected. It felt like a spit in the face.”
“Just receiving them in the mail, like it was a newspaper?” said Amy. “And we had to pick them up off the floor! I felt really bad for him.”
During a tour of service in Iraq, Wright was wounded in the explosion of a roadside bomb. It was the first of two attacks: the second came by way of a suicide driver and a fuel truck.
Wright was left with arthritis in his back, traumatic brain injuries, and he needed reconstructive ankle surgery.
His unit would later have a ceremony to honor the sacrifices during that tour. Purple Hearts were awarded to those who were wounded. ”My name was one that didn’t get called,” said Wright.
An honor his wife said Wright earned.
“They mean sacrifice,” Amy said of the Purple Heart medals. “They mean my husband gave his well-being to his country.”
In addition to dealing with injuries from the war, Wright was fighting for his honor. One of those fighting along side him was Jeremy Binder, a war veteran himself and an advocate for veterans in Allegan County.
“When he was a Marine, they dropped the ball,” said Binder. “He should have had an award ceremony.”
Binder said Wright’s problem is a common one.
Amy said they had to work hard just to get them delivered by mail, “They should be awarding those medals as soon as they can get them to them. Four years is way too long.”
The awards honor sacrifices made in service but they also serve as proof that veterans are eligible for certain combat benefits.
“Unfortunately he’s not the only one, it happens to a lot them (vets),” said Binder. “They’ve already fought a war. They shouldn’t have to fight another war when they come home.”
The Wright family reached out to Congressman Fred Upton’s office for help. We’ve been told the congressman is working to get Wright a proper ceremony.
We also reached out Wednesday to the Human Resource Department at the U.S. Army. We were told they will look into Wright’s situation as well.