HERMITAGE, TN (WTVF/CNN) - A veteran and his wife have filed a federal discrimination complaint after they say a member of their homeowners association told them they had to get rid of their wheelchair ramps or face a lawsuit.
Every day, 69-year-old Selross Adams finds the strength to help her 71-year-old husband, William Adams, in and out of their Hermitage, TN, home.
William Adams, who uses a wheelchair, served for a year in Vietnam, during which his wife says “being exposed to Agent Orange just ruined his body."
The veteran now has post-traumatic stress disorder, poor circulation, diabetes and various other ailments that claimed his right leg, a big toe and, soon, another toe.
"We had to put the disability ramps up; we had one in the front and one in the back,” Selross Adams said.
Before the couple moved into the house last April, the wheelchair ramps were approved and inspected by the Department of Veteran's Affairs.
But Selross Adams says the treasurer of the Meadows of Seven Points homeowners association, who is also the couple’s neighbor, claimed the ramps were a violation of the HOA guidelines. He even said if they weren’t gone before the Adamses moved in, he would sue.
"He wanted the unsightly ramps gone, and that’s how our little problem began,” Selross Adams said. "We just did not think that they had jurisdiction over what the Americans with Disability Act had set for us to do.”
The Adamses are now taking their fight to the Tennessee Fair Housing Council and have filed a federal discrimination complaint.
"I don’t want anybody else’s liberty to be taken away from them, the way I felt like they did for us,” Selross Adams said.
Selross Adams says the couple will eventually get the ramps they need, but until then, she has no choice but to help her husband get around one step and push at a time.