Family angry when paralyzed Marine is denied free entrance to amusement park

That park is about four miles from where I live. I hate that park. In the summertime, all the traffic over there just clogs the roads with all the busses and tourists and whatnot heading over there, plus it’s spawned RV parks and other forms of sprawl that I would just as soon avoid. My son has expressed interest in going there someday, but I have deflected his interest, because the rides in that place don’t look safe to me, and besides, there have been some injuries in the past at that place.

Well, after this, they can take that park and take a long walk off a short pier with it. They want to treat veterans like this, they don’t need this veteran’s business, I’ll tell you that.

Camille Jourden-Mark, general manager, said park staff were unaware of Hoffman’s condition. “I don’t think anybody was really aware that he was a veteran.”

“(A park official) said there was no proof of his injury. He could be faking it.”


Why should he get free entrance? He might have served America, but he is still a citizen. He’s not a supercitizen, he’s not above the law.

Quadriplegic former Marine Joshua Hoffman waited in a van at Michigan’s Adventure, hoping to see fiancee Heather Lovell in the park for an hour or two. Her father, Rockford resident Joel Lovell, explained to park staff that Hoffman is paralyzed and cannot talk. He assumed Hoffman would be admitted free.

This is the sort of situation which should be worked out in advance, with higher ups in the company, rather than just showing up at the gate and expecting the ticket-taker to bend the rules. I can see where the ticket taker would feel s/he lacked the authority to waive admission, and the supervisor would immediately want to back up the ticket-taker since they had just been following the rules.

Its a bad situation. I wish they had just let him in, but perhaps the ticket taker feared getting fired. Again, I think this should have been worked out in advance.

What law? This is an amusement park, and he wasn’t trying to get in to ride the rides for free, he was waiting for his fiance for a while until she was ready to leave. He wasn’t trying to cheat them out of anything.

“Mister, can I stand off to the side in your store for awhile until it stops raining? I’m waiting for somebody to pick me up.”

“To hell you you, G.I. Beat it. You oughtta be used to standing in the rain.
Cotton-pickin’ veterans, they think just because they get paralyzed, limbs blown off, blinded, crippled, that everybody oughtta be thankful to them and give 'em special privileges. Who do they think they are, anyway?”

God bless America. They’re all so grateful to us vets for everything we’ve done for them. :mad:

Yes, yes we are. We are very grateful to have rules and laws. Which you vets fought for. And which you vets are required to obey, as American citizens. Whether or not rules are bent for your sake, for your courage and service, is a charitable act, a voluntary act, not a requirment, not an obligation. If you want favorism, than go to a country that favors its military over the other citizens that lived there. To put it bluntly and plainly: America dosen’t play favors and neither should you.

i definitely think he should have been let in free since he was unable to go on any rides.
it might have been better if they called ahead of time to check their policy.

but this marine did sacrifice a lot for our country and i don’t think it is showing favoritism
by admitting him free - it is showing decency to a soldier, a veteran whose life has been forever changed by his service to the country.

Again: the Marine was not trying to use his wounded veteran status in order to get into the park for free. All he wanted to do was wait for his fiance for a little while until she could pick him up. But instead of showing any common decency to this man, no, they want to charge him $25.00 to rent a three-foot square patch of their asphalt and the privilege of breathing their air for an hour or so.

I have emailed this story to every vet I know, and I’ve already heard back from several of them. They are as equally outraged as I am, and they’re sending the story on to other vets and their families. Every one of the vets I’ve heard from has flatly stated that they will never set foot inside Michigan’s Adventure again. I know that I certainly won’t.

If the park wants to treat a disabled serviceman this way, that’s their choice; but they shouldn’t be surprised if they lose any and all business they may ever have gotten from the military and veteran’s communities. We don’t have to go there, and we won’t.

I hope Michigan’s Adventure loses tons of business, and I hope they have to learn the same lesson that the UAW in Detroit had to learn several years ago:

For years the UAW Solidarity House in Detroit has let Marine reservists park in its lot while the reservists undergo weekend training.

Now, however, reports that UAW has begun placing some restrictions on reservists’ parking privileges:

Marines at nearby Marine Corps Reserve Center say on Tuesday morning, the director of security at the UAW told them that while they support the troops, Marines driving foreign vehicles or sporting a President George Bush bumper sticker were no longer welcome to park there.

U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Joe Rutledge told Action News, “We received a phone call from the UAW, who support us by letting us park down at their facility. They called and said they weren’t going to allow or they would turn away some vehicles.”

A spokesman for the UAW released a statement to Action News which reads:

“While reservists certainly have the right to drive non-union made vehicles and display bumper stickers touting the most anti-worker, anti-union president since the 1920s, that doesn’t mean they have the right to park in a lot owned by members of the UAW.”

The UAW stuck their foot in it on this, which resulted in this:

The United Auto Workers union waved a white flag Monday in its parking skirmish with neighboring reservists, but the 1st Battalion, 24th Marines are not accepting surrender. Facing intense criticism, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger reversed his decision to ban Marine Corps reservists driving foreign cars or displaying pro-President Bush bumper stickers from parking at the union’s Solidarity House headquarters in Detroit.

“I made the wrong call on the parking issue, and I have notified the Marine Corps that all reservists are welcome to park at Solidarity House as they have for the past 10 years,” Gettelfinger said in a statement.

Wounded by what they consider an unpatriotic ambush, the Marines rejected the union’s olive branch and secured an alternative parking lot.

“I talked to Ron; I let him know that I understand he has rescinded his decision,” said Lt. Col. Joe Rutledge, a top-ranking officer at the reserve infantry rifle battalion. “However, I’ve made my decision – either you support the Marines or you don’t.”

And the UAW wasn’t even losing money by snubbing the Marines. If vets decide to boycott Michigan’s Adventure, they will lose money.

Which is as it should be. To put it bluntly and plainly: any company or organization has the right to treat veterans like filth…and the veterans have the right to go elsewhere; to not only boycott them individually, but to do their best to ensure that that company or organization loses money and business.

Semper Fi.

Amen. :thumbsup:

The UAW really blew it here. I know it’s a old story, but I read some of the outlandish comments by the union blowhards and I have to say that they are outrageously disrespectful of our servicemen. I will never again buy a UAW-made auto, not even used. Those thugs are not worthy of the sacrifice made by our Marines. Let them defend themselves, if they can sober up.

The paralyzed Marine has a beautiful fiancee:
Joshua Hoffman and his fiancee, Heather Lovell, attend the Memorial Day parade in Middleville.

Wolseley, you hate the park already, regardless of the vet story or not right? Are you just using the vet story as way to attack the park that you hate? Like you said, you already hated the park, right?

As for the issue of vets, you make it sound like any bum can go around lying to people about how he is really a vet, and by do that, the bum can go wherever he wants claiming that people owe him everything for free and that you would be furious if they refuse him that.

To me, the anger I feel is to liars, they are the ones that ruined it for everybody… how often do you trust some random stranger you meet? Most often, my friends frown on me for how I trust strangers I met in public and how I give them the benefit of the doubt.

i think wolseley had good reason to dislike the park before this incident and after hearing about the incident, he disliked the park even more. there is nothing wrong with that.
i am not sure of what you are trying to say about any bum lying to people about how he is really a vet …:confused: i am lost with the point you are trying to make with this.
however, i will add that i lived in a big city and sometimes there would be men standing on street corners begging for money and holding signs that said they were vets and i did wonder if they really were or if they knew that they would gain more sympathy trying to pretend they were a vet.
unless this veteran showed up at the park in his uniform, i guess you wouldn’t know for sure if he was a vet, but it doesn’t sounded like the park handled the situation very well.
i am not a veteran, but i am sure that all veterans get upset when one of their own is mistreated - especially one who has been as severely injured as this paralyzed Marine.
my father and uncles were all veterans - army, air force and navy and my son has friends in the military and my brother-in-law was in the military for over 20 years and is still working at one of the army medical hospitals - so i understand how important their service is to our country and the sacrifices they have made and they are due respect.

Sounds to me like another company putting money above all else. Feel free to complain but I would suggest a more effective strategy. Boycott the park, and encourage everyone else to boycott the park. They will pay for their mistake. They chose to risk loss of thousands of dollars, just to suck $25 out of one person. They made that choice. Help them follow through by means of a boycott.

As 7 Sorrows said below, I am not fond of the park. Years ago, there was a little attraction there called Deer Park Funland. It had herds of tame deer and a couple of small rides, and a little scale railroad train that you could ride. It was cute place, great for little kids who got big kick out of feeding the deer, and it was unintrusive.

But then, Deer Park was sold, and the guy who bought it decided that if he turned the site into a mega-park on the level of Shipshewana, he could make a lot more money—and it has since ballooned into the monster it is.

I am not opposed to anybody manking money, but I could certainly do without the congestion and traffic and noise over there. Thank God I don’t live next to it, but it has added time to my commute to work, because I have to go that way to get to the freeway, and I invariably end up having to fight my way through hordes of tourists.

So, yes. I dislike the park. But when they treat a veteran the way they did, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

In the first place, a civilian masquerading as a veteran is committing a felony, and he needs to be in prison. But if the guy is a veteran (which this guy is), then yes, I believe, he should recieve a few concessions, especially in light of the fact that he’s a disabled veteran. For the clowns at the park to say that this man was “faking” his injuries is completely over the top. Completely odious.

The Marine was not lying, which is what you don’t seem to be grasping. It was the park personnel who accused him of lying, in order to come up with some lame excuse to justify their disreputable actions.

Posting this here is part of my program to encourage people to boycott the park. I’ve sent the story to every veteran and veteran’s organization I know of, and I hope that Michigan’s Adevnture pays the price for their treatment of this man.

Sounds like that’s exactly what he was trying to do.

[quote=Wolseley]All he wanted to do was wait for his fiance for a little while until she could pick him up. But instead of showing any common decency to this man, no, they want to charge him $25.00 to rent a three-foot square patch of their asphalt and the privilege of breathing their air for an hour or so.

From what I read, it sounds like he was successful in what you claim was his goal - waiting for his fiance, on a patch of their asphalt. He wasn’t denied at all. The reality is that he wanted to get into the park for free, and apparently he felt (or at least those around him felt) he was entitled to use his wounded veteran status to do this.

[quote=Wolseley]The Marine was not lying, which is what you don’t seem to be grasping. It was the park personnel who accused him of lying, in order to come up with some lame excuse to justify their disreputable actions.

I haven’t read where either Palm Tree or the park management accused the marine of lying. Palm Tree’s point, which is echoed by park policy, is that anyone can lie and say he won’t ride the rides, or he’s entitled to get into the park because of this or that unfortunate circumstance. A flexible admission policy would reward such lying. So you can blame liars for the inflexible policy, which unfortunately inconveniences a few like this marine. As the park spokesman said,

"We just can’t be in a position of picking and choosing. We have grandparents (who pay admission) that come in our park every day that have no intention of ever going on a ride.

If I were in charge, I would probably be more of a pushover on issues like this. But they may have gotten burned in the past, or they may just not want the headache of having to judge on a daily basis who deserves special treatment. For that reason, I have a hard time finding fault with the park sticking to its policy, even though I would have done it differently.

And now my own personal side rant - who goes to an expensive amusement park just to meet friends or relatives? If you’re going to have fun with them on the rides, fine, the same if you’re going to wait around while the kids do so. But you’re going to pay. It’s like going to a Broadway play just to meet someone. The theater, and the park, don’t want you there if you’re not paying - seems sensible, and most sensible people know this. So it strikes me as unjustified whining to complain that even though he was a disabled veteran, he didn’t get special treatment on this issue. There are many more worthwhile battles to be fought defending the respect due our veterans.

You’ve talked to him, then? From what I read, the bullet he took in the neck rendered him incapable of speech.

Besides that, if you took the time to read down through the posted responses to the article in the link, you will see that it was neither the Marine nor his fiance who went to the press with this outrage; it was the fiance’s sister. The Marine and his fiance were just going to shrug and take the treatment they were given.

I quoted what they said in the OP. Did you fail to read that part?

A quadriplegic who can’t drive and is brought there by a relative, maybe?

You clearly don’t get it, so I won’t argue with you. My position on the matter stands, and the responses I’ve gotten from at least 25 veterans so far agree with me 100%.

Semper Fi.


I’m requesting a clarification. I’m going to state what I think you’re saying. Please tell me if I’m spot on, or I mistook it…

The veteran had to wait for his wife, so he waited by the ticket stand. The ticket stand demanded he pay $25 just to wait there, because they saw it as “parking”. And since the veteran couldn’t speak, he could not defend himself and just submitted to the humiliation of the situation. In return, his sister reported the mistreatment and the press swarmed all over it. And you reported it to as many vets as you could, as part of a boycott of this particular park.

I hope I’m spot on?

Did anyone think the fact the this man was just dumped at the ticket stand to wait by his friends/family was a little weird? If the fiance decided to go to the park, why did he have to sit waiting? Could he not have been somewhere else more comfortable? Or if there wasn’t anywhere, why didn’t she give up her time at the park to be with him? That’s what spouses do for each other–give up momentary pleasures for the other’s welfare. The whole day didn’t seem to be planned very well and the park is not responsible for that. I have taken people in wheelchairs to outdoor places like an amusement park at let me say that it is generally no fun for them.

You’re close. The veteran was brought to the park by his (future) father-in-law, so he could see his fiance for about an hour; she was working inside the park. The veteran was inside his father-in-law’s van and had not yet been unloaded. The park stipulated that he would have to pay $25.00 to simply enter the gate. The father-in-law called the veteran’s fiance to explain the situation, and the three of them decided to accept it and the veteran and his father-in-law left. Later, when the finace’s sister heard about this, she was the one who went to the press. I read about it, and I am doing my little bit to kill just as much business for Michigan’s Adventure as I possibly can.

Go back to the link in the OP, and read down through the comments left there by various posters. You will come away with one very, very clear impression: while there are a few people who recognize and appreciate the sacrifices made by this particular vet for this country, and are thus willing to grant him some concessions for those sacrifices, the vast majority of people couldn’t care less about the fact that he was paralyzed in the service of this nation and its people, and are irritated because they might have to go even a tad out of their way to show any appreciation at all, and demosntarte this by simply labelling the veteran as some sort of slimy shakedown artist who goes around using his status as a paralyzed veteran go gain all sorts of freebies----an attitude that I have, regrettably, seen reflected on this very thread.

Conclusion: as far as the vast majority of people are concerned, it would have been better for this Marine to have died in Iraq rather than coming back paralyzed, so they all have to be inconvenienced by his existance.

God bless America.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, did anybody even read the OP???

The vet wasn’t “dumped” anywhere—he was waiting at the gate, inside his father-in-law’s van. The fiance was working inside the park, and she and the vet had planned to meet up for an hour when the vet’s father-in-law brought him over, and afterwards, the father-in-law was going to drive the vet to a graduation ceremony for the veteran’s brother.

The veteran had to sit waiting because the park wouldn’t let him inside unless he shelled out $25.00 to rent a chunk of their asphalt for an hour. That’s not the fiance’s fault. Your insinuation that she isn’t willing to “give up momentary pleasures” is not in line with what I see happening here. This girl promised herself to this man for better or for worse before he left for Iraq, and she is going forward with that promise even though he is now paralyzed from the chest down and has a life expectancy of about ten more years—that’s a little bit more than giving up “momentary pleasures”, that’s committing a large chunk of her life, and God bless her for it.

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