We live in the land of the free because of the brave. Jeff J. is one of the brave.
Jeff is a wonderful husband to Allison and an amazing dad to their two kids (and one on the way.) He’s a go getter, determined to live life to the fullest, with a positive attitude no matter what comes.
Jeff’s story is a tough one to swallow. I’m hoping I can do it justice, keeping the facts straight and his integrity intact.
Jeff was deployed to Iraq from March 2004 through March 2005. During that year he went on over 700 patrols in the slums of Baghdad. During a patrol in May his unit came under heavy fire. A RPG (rocket propelled grenade) pierced his unit’s Bradley tank. His back was broken in multiple places.
God showed him mercy. He recovered and came home to his beautiful wife.
Sadly, ten years later these injuries continue to cause major back problems. Jeff deals with pain daily, and on a normal day his legs go numb around lunch time. Doctors say not much can be done. Despite the daily struggles, however, Jeff never complains. If you see him in public, you would never know the pain he is in.
In addition, eight months of heavy combat are hard to forget. Jeff also deals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to traumatic events, specifically warfare in Jeff’s case. Symptoms include disturbing recurring flashbacks that can last months or years after the events. He has nightmares once a week to this day.
Although he has sought treatment, PTSD is something he will never fully get over. In addition to nightmares, Jeff also has adverse reactions to loud, unexpected noises. Fireworks on holidays, for example, send his mind back to his days in Iraq. The memories are unbearable.
Learning Jeff’s story has given me a new appreciation for our military servicemen. Their experiences during war are horrific. When they return home, they do not just forget what happened and move on. No. They live with the effects of their experience for the rest of their life. Knowing this about Jeff has helped me realize that some disabilities, although not visible, still have life-changing impact on a person. We should all keep this mind, especially in the case of veterans.
Jeff is a true hero.
He has displayed courage, bravery, and self-sacrifice, in this case, for the greater good of his country.
We should all be thankful to him for his service and for his willingness to defend this great nation.
Thank you, Jeff, for being a real life hero.
Thank you for being selfless.
Thank you for living your life as an example for us all to follow.
You are appreciated! Your efforts and hardship will not be forgotten.
This post is part of a series of 31 Real Life Heroes. If you’d like to nominate your hero, please email dwarshak(at)gmail.com.