Hometown: Gretna, Louisiana (went to H.S. & was football star in suburbs of Dallas, TX)
Date of Injury: 9/20/2004
Hospital: National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD then Brook Army Medical Center
Unit: 1st Battalion, 23rd Marines, Bravo Company. This is an Infantry Division.
Date deployed to Iraq: 8/22/2004
Location of Injury: Near Baghdad
List of Injuries: He lost his right leg below the knee. Every bone in his left leg and foot were broken. One third of his left hand and arm were blown away. He lost his smallest finger and the use of his ring finger on that hand. The wound was so large that he had to have his left arm placed into his stomach for approximately 4 weeks to grow a graft. He does not have an ulna in that arm.
Needless to say my life has changed dramatically since sustaining multiple injuries in combat operations in Iraq. Although this is the hard, day to day reality of my personal situation, I would not hesitate to go back and fight for our great nation tomorrow. I say this because every Marine and Soldier I know would do the same for me, my family and you and yours. I look at myself as one of the "Blessed ones" because although coming home almost completely broken, I came home. I am alive. I won. I can't even imagine my family and friends going to a grave site to honor me or feel close to me and I pray every day for those people who have to do just that. God bless you all! I still have my good days and bad days but "they" say that is to be expected. I often wonder if "they" also know what its like to be me or another one of my severely wounded brothers or sisters in arms.
I have been fairly busy since taping for Alive Day. The main thing that has been occupying my time is looking for a house or a place to build a house for my wife and me. We are moving from New Orleans to Dallas in June of next year. It has been pretty stressful because we are entitled to V.A. benefits for our home but getting them is like getting a decent bill passed in Congress. Other than the house deal I have been looking at organizations that could possibly help my wife and me build a home. There are actually a couple that will if they feel we meet the qualifications. So please pray for us on that.
I also have spent some time helping a non-profit organization called American War Heroes Foundation. I am actually on the board of directors and you can read more about that and what the overall goal is by going to americanwarheroes.org.
My wife and I like to try and have a date night once a week and spend time with our friends on weekends. We love to go fishing or hunting. She has not been hunting yet but, I took her to a shooting range and let me tell you, she can shoot! I am obviously very careful not to get her angry now.
Through all my injuries it naturally makes things more challenging to me now. I have told my family and friends I don't even remember what its like to get up out of bed and walk to the bathroom without using my wheelchair or putting on my prosthetic. That goes to show you how much we take the most simple things in everyday life for granted. Sometimes I just want to throw the both of them threw the wall, but, "they" said that was to be expected also.
Because of the severe damage my left leg took from the explosion, I can't run anymore and this is a sore subject for me. I use to run often, not only in shorts and shoes but in boots and utes (meaning my utilities). I also have to say that I was a pretty good athlete in high school, my coaches told me that I had the "heart of a champion". I have noticed in my fairly short lifetime that if your heart is in it, anything can be achieved. So, when I look at football pictures or Marine Corp pictures I get a little depressed. Then I think to myself, at least I have my left leg and they both weren't amputated. But, I also often wonder if it would have been easier to just take the left one also. Everything happens for a reason though and that I am certain of. I truly believe there is a powerful reason God didn't take me home on that fateful day in September of 2004. And it is that "heart of a champion" that God gave me that I know I am not only still capable, if not more so now, very capable of achieving great things and changing lives in this world.
As for my future, only God knows what lies ahead for my family and me. We are confident that there are great things in store for us in the near future. My family has told me I should write a book because I have a powerful story to tell.
I have put a lot thought into that because I feel like I can reach out and help people I have never even met by telling my story. And to me, if I was able to help just one person, change just one life, it would be worthwhile. I will need help from people such as my mother in my writing the book considering I have trouble remembering the earlier months of my hospitalization. I only remember certain things and with those moments not much detail. I also think it would do a lot of "inner" healing not only for myself, but, my family as well. I believe if in sharing my experience, I could get others to feel something like that of which I feel inside when I look at our American flag waving in the wind. That alone would be a powerful feat. I just simply want to help others, not only our wounded veterans but just everyday people.
As for my wife and me, we want what most of the American people want, to live "the American dream". We want to have a place we can call home. A place we can raise our children and teach them right from wrong. Most importantly, to teach them what it means to be an American and how many men and women that have come before them who fought and gave their lives so unselfishly so they could have the gift of freedom. Although I can't physically fight with a 240 Gulf machine gun or an M16-A2 service rifle, I can still fight for our freedom and rights with my voice. And that is what I plan to do. I will use my voice to be heard and help my fellow Americans get what they deserve. Now let's see if our Government will do their part. You know, the President, Congress, the Senate, House of Representatives etc. I often wonder when "they" are going to quit arguing amongst themselves about "he said she said", and do what they are suppose to do to better our nation. After all we do pay them to do just that!