Life Time Fitness Denies Wounded Warrior Entry Over Mask That He Physically Can’t Wear
Life Time Fitness is under fire after barring well known wounded warrior Israel Del Toro from entering their gym since he can't wear a mask.
A Life Time Fitness gym in Colorado is getting heat for denying entrance to disabled veteran Israel Del Toro who is unable to wear a mask because of his burn injuries. Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ mask mandate requires that masks be worn in gyms – but it also has exemptions for disabled people.
However, that exemption didn’t matter to Life Time Fitness in Colorado Springs. The mask police in Colorado are very much out of hand!
Wounded Warrior Israel Del Toro Survived An IED In Afghanistan
Meet Senior Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro. Here’s a look at the proud MSgt with his loving wife:
Heartiest congratulations to Senior Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro and his wife Carmen on renewing their wedding vows during his retirement ceremony at USAF Academy. 💐
📸 by USAF / Joshua Armstrong. pic.twitter.com/D3011YfT1w
— BVR Splash (@OC_Jaguars) May 3, 2019
And this isn’t just any veteran. Israel Del Toro is one of the nation’s most well-known wounded warriors.
Master Sgt. (R) Israel Del Toro received a surprise call and a personal invitation to #SBLIII from @nflcommish to thank him for his service to our country. #SuperBowlSurprise #SaluteToService pic.twitter.com/civd2qrnS6
— NFL (@NFL) January 23, 2019
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In 2005, an IED in Afghanistan left him severely burned. Del Toro has burns over 80 percent of his body.
In addition to losing most of his fingers, the wounder warrior also lost his ears and was in a coma for nearly three months.
This is the brave man that Life Time Fitness barred from their Colorado Springs location.
Life Time Fitness Turns Away Wound Warrior Without Ears To Hold Mask
Imagine Del Toro’s surprise when, even with his obvious injuries, he was denied access to exercise.
The mask mandate allows him to forgo a mask because he is disabled. But, Life Time Fitness was not permitting this.
Instead, the national chain openly discriminated against one of our wounded warriors. They even disregarded the doctor’s note that he had with him.
In 2005, @USAirForce Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro Jr. was severely wounded when his Humvee hit an IED in Afghanistan. In 2010, he became the first airman with a 100% disability rating to re-enlist. Today, as he retires from the @USAirForce, we honor his service. #CongratsDT pic.twitter.com/Qr6Qc45iRw
— Bob Woodruff Foundation (@Stand4Heroes) April 27, 2019
“I check in, they take my temperature, then they pull me aside and they’re like, ‘Hey, uh, DT, we need you to wear a mask. I was like, ‘You know, you can’t refuse me service based on my disability,’ [they were] like, ‘Well, you can’t work out,” Del Toro said.
The wounded warrior has a simple reason for not wearing a mask. He physically is not able to do so.
“Not only can I not wear the ones around the ear because I don’t have ears, but due to my medical condition, I can’t breathe,” the now retired Master Sergeant told KKTV.
Mask Policy Is Torture For Israel Del Toro
The confrontation ended up being an emotional burden for this hero who taught parachute jumping at the Air Force Academy after being wounded.
“I’m not gonna lie, I kinda broke down because I was getting tired. How many times am I going to have to go through this?”
This isn’t the first time the wounded warrior was denied service because of his inability to wear a mask.
Shockingly, the same thing happened to Del Toro at the Peterson Air Force Base commissary earlier this summer.
He has since received an apology for that.
Mask Police Apologize To Wounded Warrior
This obviously isn’t a good look for Life Time Fitness. After being contacted by local media, an apology was issued through the following statement:
“In light of the direct public health threat posed by COVID-19, we have in place a requirement that all members and guests wear masks when visiting the clubs. If any individual indicates a medical reason that prevents them from wearing a mask, our team engages in an interactive process to identify potential alternatives, which still cover the nose and mouth. For example, this may include a face shield, alternative face covering, or another member-suggested accommodation.
When an alternative accommodation cannot be identified, we have in place outdoor and online classes and programs as an option, or a complimentary membership freeze until the mask order is lifted. We recognize that each individual is different, and review these accommodations on a case by case basis. As we always aim to deliver positive experiences to all members and guests, we apologize for Sr. Master Sergeant Del Toro’s experience and have contacted him to extend an immediate exemption considering these extenuating circumstances.”
Veterans Deserve Respect
During this pandemic, a little kindness goes a long way. If someone physically cannot wear a mask, they shouldn’t be demeaned.
If a man doesn’t have ears, he is not going to be able to wear a mask. This is basic common sense. There is no reason to deny him entrance.
Veterans like Israel Del Toro deserve gratitude and respect. Employees should be properly educated on handling these situations.