“Lifelong friends and the chance to help others heal the way DOF has assisted my recovery.”

After graduating from the United States Military Academy in 2004, Chris was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Field Artillery Corp and deployed to Iraq. At the conclusion of a patrol that ended at FOB Justice in Baghdad, Chris was shot in the lower leg/ankle as the result of a negligent discharge from a soldier who had hitched a ride with Chris’ convoy and was attempting to clear their weapon at a non-regulated clearing site area. This gunshot wound took him on a two and a half year journey that ultimately resulted in the amputation of his lower leg.

In 2009, Chris came to Defenders of Freedom’s golf outing with other wounded Veterans from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. His gregarious personality instantly bonded him with many of the volunteers and golfers as well as DOF founder Donna Cranston. Chris found healing in meeting other Veterans and has returned each year on a duel mission.

“The most therapeutic part of the process has been the ability to reach out to other vets that I know could use a friend and bring them out of their shell to relax and enjoy a weekend dedicated to them. These are the moments I find most beneficial to my ongoing recovery, the chance to reconnect with soldiers that need that understanding from people who have been in the same place as them both mentally and physically.”

The Defenders of Freedom golf outing continues to be a healing experience for Chris and he has become a wonderful bridge to welcoming the new Veterans who need support and encouragement from a Veteran who has walked that path. In paying forward to the Veterans he meets, Chris continues his healing process and gives back by helping other Veterans with their journey.