While Jerral Hancock served in Iraq, he drove a tank as part of the Army’s 1st Calvary Division. Then, one day, he ran over a bomb that detonated and exploded through the vehicle’s protective shield. Jerral lost one of his arms to the flames, and became paralyzed from the chest down from shrapnel that got wedged into his spine. That day in 2007 when the bomb detonated was his 21st birthday.
While it is a miracle that Hancock still has his life, this is not the life he imagined coming back to when he left for his deployment. He’d expected to come home in one piece, and be able to tuck his son and daughter in at night.
As reported by the LA Times, his wife left him after the incident, and his mother and stepfather took over as his primary caretakers. He struggled both as a disabled person trying to function as a father in a mobile home park, as well as a war veteran with PTSD and constant frustration that at the young age of 27, he’s incapable of completing too many things on his own.
When Lancaster High School asked him to speak about his experience, it totally opened up the students’ eyes. That’s when they decided to team up with the Gary Sinise Foundation, the Carrington Development Co., the Independence Fund, and Disabled American Veterans to help this veteran live more comfortably in a home where he’d be able to fit through his children’s doors.
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