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TOWNSEND — Things are looking up for disabled veteran David Paradis since his need for a handicapped access ramp appeared in the Nashoba Valley Chronicle, but the Balsam Drive project still has not moved ahead.

The 60-percent-disabled Vietnam veteran now suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — Lou Gehrig’s disease — and, thanks to the involvement of the ALS Association of Massachusetts, he may be able to acquire a 100 percent disability rating from the Veterans Administration (VA) and the help that offers.

Paradis’ condition will deteriorate over time and his ability to move will shrink away increasing the need for a motorized wheelchair and the ramp the Pepperell and Townsend VFWs donated the money to build.

The project is on hold due to a mix-up in which an out-of-town contractor began building the ramp in front of Paradis’ split-entry home instead of off the rear deck where it is needed. The contractor was told to go home part way through building when a senior Pepperell VFW officer viewed what was being done.

Since publishing Paradis’ story, Michael Lembo, the special events and marketing coordinator for the ALS association, has contacted Paradis.

“He is in the process of registering with us,” said Lembo. “From there, we are going to work with him to see what we can do to assist with the ramp.”

Paradis said he has been in contact with Raymond O’Brien, a VFW service officer in Boston who will advocate for his disability status with the VA. Unfortunately, that has hit stumbling a block as well.

“I spoke with Mr. O’Brien’s secretary who wanted a power of attorney sent in so he can represent me,” said Paradis. “It’s been over three weeks, and I’ve heard nothing. They just told me they’re slow to get mail. I gave them time, but, apparently, they don’t have the paperwork.

“If we have Mr. O’Brien advocating for me, the ALS (association) said they would be happy to advocate for me to get my 100 percent (status),” he said.

“David (first) sent the (Boston) VFW his paperwork in May. He’s really disappointed,” said Pepperell VFW quartermaster Tony Saboliauskas. “On Aug. 30, David has an appointment with the Manchester (N.H.) VA to check on him to upgrade to 100 percent disabled.”

It was Saboliauskas who found the contractor for the ramp project when a bidder from the Townsend VFW could not start work immediately. A check for half of the money raised by the two posts has been cashed.

“The project is still on hold. He (the contractor) called me Sunday night, and I told him the deck out front won’t work,” said Saboliauskas. “I tried to salvage as much of the money that we can (the cashed check was for $2,250).

“He told me he had been fired and seemed to be sensitive to that word. I told him we don’t know how much was spent, and I asked how much (of a) refund we can expect,” Saboliauskas said. “He’s now on vacation, and I don’t want to harass him.”

Apparently there a misunderstanding when the contract was signed. A packet in the Pepperell VFW contains both the contractor’s bid and plans for a multi-platform ramp off the rear, not the front, of Paradis’ home.

After talking with the contractor, Saboliauskas said, “It’s a 90-foot ramp, and the $4,000 (close to $4,400 put up by the two VFW posts) wouldn’t even cover the lumber cost.”

Paradis said he has also been contacted by a veterans outreach group offering to help with the ramp. Accepting that help would halt progress on the work that’s underway, so he put the offer on hold.

“If the VA acted quickly (with) the 100 percent disability to put in a ramp or elevator it would be great,” said Saboliauskas. “At the very least, this gives Dave a focus away from his disease and lets him know that ‘I’m not here alone.’”

A dance party to benefit the ramp project will be held Aug. 25, at Pepperell VFW Post 3291, 55 Leighton St., from 7 p.m. to midnight. It will feature country rock and blues by the Tim Rollo Band. Tickets are $10 at the door.

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