A 76-year-old combat veteran in New Hampshire is fighting again, this time for a handicapped parking spot outside his Portsmouth townhouse. But he’s been denied, twice.
“I’m not looking for a gold medal,” said Jim Arena.
He says he is just looking for a handicapped parking spot outside his Spinnaker Point townhouse.
“I am in constant pain,” he said.
He served in Vietnam, suffered multiple injuries during battle, and still has shrapnel in his back.
“I put my life on the line, for me and for you too,” he said during an interview Wednesday afternoon.
He’s had handicapped plates for ten years, and last week, for the second time, Arena asked the Spinnaker Point Management Board to convert a resident parking space outside his home into a handicapped one. They denied his request.
“It’s a very bad feeling,” Arena said.
He says the disappointment goes as deep as when he returned Vietnam, walking through the airport in his war fatigues.
“People were spitting at me, I mean spitting at me,” Arena recalled. “It was the worst feeling of my life and that’s what I feel like now.”
Some of Arena’s neighbors are equally as frustrated, saying they’re happy to give up a parking spot if it means giving back to someone who gave so much for all of us.
“I personally feel we need to honor our veterans that’s why we’re here, it’s just disgraceful,” said Jenny Kruzal.
“I don’t want the world don’t get me wrong,” Arena said. “I just want some consideration.”
A few other neighbors who didn’t want to go on camera are painting a different picture, saying Arena has caused trouble in the neighborhood since he moved in a couple years ago. They don’t believe he needs a designated spot because they say there’s ample parking even on evenings and weekends.
The Spinnaker Management Board declined to comment.