My name’s Justin. I served in the Army from 2010 to 2014. I was a specialist in the Army—Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 82nd Airborne. I deployed to Maiwand District, Afghanistan. In that area of Maiwand, we had a lot of IED attacks. One disabled me. I was in the gunner seat when it went off. My injuries were bad enough that I was ranked 100 percent disability by the VA.
Some of the injuries that happened while I was in Afghanistan caused me to have a TBI, a traumatic brain injury. I developed a really bad sleeping disorder called narcolepsy, where I started to fall asleep randomly. My shoulders were dislocated and really messed up. I had to have a couple of surgeries. The doctors said I’d never really walk right again, I’d never lift anything over 20 pounds, I’d never have a normal life because of all these different injuries that were through my body and in my brain.
It was a difficult life. It was very painful. The surgeries, the stretching, the recovery. They told me I would never really function like a normal human being. That weighed really hard on me, especially because I wanted a family someday. They told me that would never happen for me.
For a year and a half, I lived in a hospital on Fort Bragg, where I did physical therapy. I saw doctors from all over the place, from psychologists and psychiatrists, to physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons. There was a lot of treatment, but nothing was really helping.
They eventually medically discharged me from the military. I then had to find my own treatment. I started going to chiropractors on my own. It helped temporarily, sometimes for a day or two. But the pain levels were still really bad, and I couldn’t function like a normal person.
Then, I started talking to my dad. He is a Vietnam veteran. He was going through a lot of migraine pain. He told me about this organization called Pain Free Patriots, where they take veterans who are in pain and really have no other option, and treat them with cutting edge, state-of-the-art technology.
So, I got my hopes up. I came in. Upon starting treatment with Pain Free Patriots, I can tell you that within days, I was starting to notice changes I’ve never experienced before. Relief from my pain that I thought was going to be there forever, because that’s what I was told. I was even able to sleep at night again.
After the course of about three months, I got to the point where I can have a normal life again.
Not everybody’s called to go into the military. It’s not everybody’s job to fight in the wars. But, when someone’s willing to support a veteran and someone’s willing to pay for people like me to have a life again, that was your service. You did something for this country that no one else can.
We come back and we’re on our own. I’m very thankful for anyone who takes the time and the finances to support someone who you’ve never met. You don’t know me, you don’t know my wife, and you don’t know a lot of things in my life. But you care enough to give me my life back.
Support patriot grants for Justin and hundreds of veterans living with chronic pain. Become a sustaining donor today. Contact Pain Free Patriots at 952-746-3174.