Robert joined the U.S. Army in 2008. He was in law enforcement with the Leon County Florida SWAT Team and also worked with the Sheriff’s Department before heading off to basic training in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He always wanted to be a soldier, perhaps because both his father and his grandfather also served in the military. Robert deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 – 2010 with the 36th ASMC (Area Support Medical Company) during the Big Surge, which was when President Obama increased US troop numbers to over 30,000. It was a time when the Taliban was gaining momentum.
Robert was attached to the 349th Combat Support Hospital and served with the 452nd FST (Forward Surgical Team) as a medic in Ghazni, offering support to the US military and the Afghan National Police. When asked what he did in the desert, he said he and another soldier organized and maintained the entire blood program for the most critically wounded soldiers. He was reminded of how his FST unit set a record for traumatic urgent surgical mass casualties in theater – well over 400 – during a 3 month period. It is difficult to imagine.
Robert suffers from a Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD, along with lower back injuries and bilateral hip injuries, which causes instability when he tries to walk. He recently had a hip replacement and uses a wheelchair most of time.
Robert enjoyed playing sports and fishing, but now finds it difficult to regain interest in those things he enjoyed the most. Robert has found it challenging readjusting to life outside the military and returning to normal life, which he says is at times non-existent.
Purple Heart Homes will be helping Robert and his family with a handicap accessible shower, a ramp, railings, and will be replacing their HVAC system. When asked what this will mean to him, Robert said, “This will improve the quality of life not only for me, but for my family”. Robert appreciates the support he receives from his wife, Dana, and his two children, and Purple Heart Homes is proud to help provide the quality of life they deserve.