Turn To Tara: Lawmakers support soldier who wants to serve after transplant

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A Turn To Tara report involving a Westchester soldier forced to leave the military over a kidney transplant has lawmakers speaking out on his behalf.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Cola, of Port Chester, was recently told by the Department of the Air Force that he could no longer serve in the National Guard due to a kidney transplant. The news came despite his doctor’s assurance that he had made a full recovery from the transplant three years ago.

Sen. Chuck Schumer said his heart broke after listening to Cola’s interview with News 12.

Schumer said he is going to ask for a review, including what the reasoning is, and if they don't have a good reason, he is going to put pressure on them to accept him.

"The ironic thing is we have heard and seen instances where others who have one kidney have been allowed to serve. And if it’s just bureaucracy, if it's just someone not sticking their head up, they ought to be overruled," says Schumer.

Rep. Nita Lowey sent out a letter to the assistant secretary of defense, urging him to “look into this matter with all possible urgency.”

Westchester County Executive George Latimer says a hero’s lifelong dreams are on the line.

"I think it was a foolish decision and I suspect they are going to reverse the decision. Part of it is the public outcry...part of it is assessing, you ,may have a policy and then you want to look at policy case by case,” he says. "I admire him greatly and certainly after a transplant to be prepared to continue to serve the country - I think we owe him a debt of gratitude, the least of which is to let him to continue his service,” said Latimer.

News 12 has submitted a Freedom of Information request regarding Cola's fight to serve.

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