Veteran Stories

Roger Hardy

Roger Hardy grew up in North Carolina wanting to follow in the footsteps of his father, an Officer in the U.S. Army, who served for two tours in Vietnam. Roger claims, “I wouldn’t have felt complete if I didn’t serve.”

Well, it turns out that Roger did a hefty amount of service. He joined the National Guard in 1983, thinking that he would serve in the Army as his father did, and completed basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. However, Roger ended up answering the call from the sea. In 1984, he opted for a delayed entry program with the Navy. In 1985, Roger attended Navy Bootcamp at the former Naval Training Center in Orlando, Florida, and took on the role of a Seabee. Roger spent the next fifteen years focusing on his passion: restoring hot rod cars. He loves finding old, junky cars and turning them into masterpieces no one thought would be possible.

In 2001, Roger reenlisted in the Navy. This time, he was a Seabee for fourteen years. Roger served in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2013, Roger sustained combat-related injuries along the majority of the left side of his body, as well as a Traumatic Brain Injury. Roger was honorably discharged in 2015 as a Petty Officer, and returned to his home state of North Carolina.

The return home did not come with many highlights, but rather, an array of difficulties and disappointments. Roger endured eight surgeries to address his injuries. He discovered that he was unable to participate in the activities he enjoyed in the past due to his lack of mobility. This prevented him from taking care of himself properly, along with his dogs, which he could not play with outside anymore. Roger realized that he also sustained Post-Traumatic Stress from his time in the Navy, and could not go out to dinner without acting hyper-vigilant. In fact, he hated being in large, loud crowds in general. His wife was his only outlet of support during his transition back to civilian life.

Roger expects to go through even more surgeries in the near future. Purple Heart Homes will provide Roger with a better quality of life by raising the recess floor in his living room, which he struggles to get in and out of, as well as making his bathroom handicap-accessible. When asked what this intervention from Purple Heart Homes means to Roger, he can’t help but swell with gratitude. “This is a very humbling experience. It feels like there are folks out there who are actually eager to help. It feels like people actually care about the sacrifices I made,” he says.

We care an extraordinary amount about the sacrifices you’ve made for our country, Roger. Thank you for your service, and welcome to the Purple Heart Homes family!

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