ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A group of U.S. Marines is coming together to help one of their own who is suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The veteran’s last final wish is to see his brothers he was in combat with, and all he needs is a little more air.
Michael Anthony Reyes is on oxygen. The VA gives him enough to last him about four to five hours a week.
“Maybe I could go fishing for four or five hours and that’s it for the week, or maybe I could go run around town and pay bills six different times as long as I keep it under 30 minutes apiece,” said Reyes.
Reyes says he started showing symptoms for COPD in the last year or so, saying the reason for it is likely connected to his time as a U.S. Marine.
Reyes says he joined the Marines right out of high school.
“I knew it was going to be hard,” said Reyes.
He couldn’t have predicted the uphill battle he’d have to face overseas fighting in the Gulf War.
“I mean, I thought we were entering Dante’s Hell, it was just a straight wall of black smoke. You could see daylight, all of a sudden, you can’t see anything behind it,” said Reyes.
Reyes made it back home, but the cloud of black smoke still lingers.
“He’s getting sicker by the day and his window of opportunity for him to travel is closing more and more each day,” said Gulf War veteran Richard Clark, who fought beside Reyes.
He was able to reconnect with his fellow Marine and wants Reyes to have the same opportunity with others.
“I don’t want to see him left behind, I want to see him at least make one trip,” said Clark.
Clark is raising money for a portable oxygen tank so Reyes can have more air and more time to spend with his brothers.
If you would like to donate, you can visit the team’s gofundme page.