Thursday, June 14, 2012

Happy Father's Day

This Sunday is Father’s Day and Hope For The Warriors® would like to thank the fathers of our military members.  Parents have made huge sacrifices to care for their wounded sons and daughters.  Many have quit their jobs to stay at bedside and life savings have been drained.  There are countless stories of love and devotion and today I share just one.

In 2006, Colin, a Marine, deployed to Iraq and was severely wounded by an IED.  Suffering from severe traumatic brain injury, the parents were told that their son would not walk or talk again.  His father, Bob, refused to listen and Bob left his job to stay at Colin’s bedside at the medical centers. 
Bob and Colin at the Medical Centers

When Colin was ready to return home, the need for around the clock care continued.  Although Colin was beginning to walk, he could not maneuver stairs.  The family used the living room for Colin’s bedroom and Bob slept on an air mattress to attend to Colin’s needs.  Along with the roles of parent, caregiver, and medical assistant, Bob also became Colin’s financial planner.  Bob wondered, who would care for Colin after he had passed away?
Bob and Colin at a baseball game

His solution was well thought out but costly.  Bob needed a home in Colin’s name, which was free of debt.  In that case, even when Bob died, Colin could stay in his home, and other family members could stay in the home to care for him.  But Colin would not need to move and would always be cared for.

This was an aggressive financial plan that Bob had to undertake.   Although he had some money saved for retirement, he had also spent a year away from work to care for Colin.  He turned to Hope For The Warriors® for assistance in purchasing the home through our A Warrior’s Wish® Program.  We were proud to grant this Wish.

Bob and Colin complete the Jacksonville Run For The Warriors 5K in 2009

Bob passed away unexpectedly last October.  He was strong, dedicated and faithful each and every day, regardless of the challenges that he faced in his life.  He is missed by family, friends and by our staff members who were honored to know this man.

Just as he had planned, Colin is living safely in his home.  A nurse works with him during the day and at night, a rotation of family and friends stay with Colin to ensure his safety.

Bob was honored posthumously on May 23, 2012 at our annual Got Heart, Give Hope® Gala.  With his uncle by his side, Colin walked up to the stage and accepted this award from Gary Sinise.  Bob would have been so proud to see Colin walk up the stage—something that the doctors said he would never do.

Colin accepts Bob's award at the Got Heart, Give Hope Gala
Photo provided courtesy of Paul Oberle
Happy Father’s Day to all of our dedicated fathers.  Thank you for caring for our sons and daughters in the military. Our military is strengthened by the dedication of family members that surround our service members.

We have come to know that “changed” does not have to mean “diminished.”  We face many challenges on the road ahead…physical, mental, emotional and financial, but we are happy to be blessed with a chance to overcome these challenges.
--Bob Smith, written in his Wish application in 2007

No comments:

Post a Comment