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Paralyzed Veteran Fights for VA Spinal Cord Injury Center

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A place in San Diego where veterans have gone to get specialized care for 25 years is in need of some serious care of its own, and a one time Navy SEAL is fighting to make that happen. NBC 7's Military Reporter Bridget Naso has more.

    A place in San Diego where veterans have gone to get specialized care for 25 years is in need of some serious care of its own, and a one time Navy SEAL is fighting to make that happen. 

    For Al Kovach, the Spinal Cord Injury Center is a second home. As the incoming President of Paralyzed Veterans of America, he has seen many fellow veterans come through the doors. 

    “If you could hear the stories that have gone on in the hallway of this building, it would be great,” said Kovach.

    Kovach's story started here more than 20 years ago as he was recruited for the elite Navy SEALs.

    “I graduated in '89 and became a member of SEAL Team 5 and was injured in a parachuting accidentm" said Kovach. He was paralyzed in the fall.

    Now a new wave of veterans have begun to need the center's help. About 50 vets have been getting treatment there since Sept. 11, 2001.

    But the center is no longer up to code. There is $187 million in the president's budget for a new center with additional 30 beds for long term care at the VA.

    Congresswoman Susan Davis has been working to see that her colleagues on Capitol Hill veterans to see the need.

    "It's a win for our veterans and a win for our community because we serve so many of our veterans here," said Davis, who represents the 53rd District.

    And Kovach wants to be sure his fellow veterans get the care they deserve.

    "When the war ends, the DOD can pack up their tanks and go home, but the VA is going to have to deal with the results of this war for 60 or 70 years,” said Kovach.