This Sunday is Father’s Day and Hope For The Warriors® would
like to thank the fathers of our military members.  Parents have made huge sacrifices to care for
their wounded sons and daughters.  Many
have quit their jobs to stay at bedside and life savings have been drained.  There are countless stories of love and
devotion and today I share just one.

In 2006, Colin, a Marine, deployed to Iraq and was severely
wounded by an IED.  Suffering from severe
traumatic brain injury, the parents were told that their son would not walk or
talk again.  His father, Bob, refused to
listen and Bob left his job to stay at Colin’s bedside at the medical centers. 
Bob and Colin at the Medical Centers

When Colin was ready to return home, the need for around the
clock care continued.  Although Colin was
beginning to walk, he could not maneuver stairs.  The family used the living room for Colin’s
bedroom and Bob slept on an air mattress to attend to Colin’s needs.  Along
with the roles of parent, caregiver, and medical assistant, Bob also became
Colin’s financial planner.  Bob wondered,
who would care for Colin after he had passed away?
Bob and Colin at a baseball game

His solution was well thought out but costly.  Bob needed a home in Colin’s name, which was
free of debt.  In that case, even when
Bob died, Colin could stay in his home, and other family members could stay in
the home to care for him.  But Colin
would not need to move and would always be cared for.

This was an aggressive financial plan that Bob had to
undertake.   Although he had some money
saved for retirement, he had also spent a year away from work to care for
Colin.  He turned to Hope For The
Warriors® for assistance in purchasing the home through our A Warrior’s Wish®
Program.  We were proud to grant this Wish.

Bob and Colin complete the Jacksonville Run For The Warriors 5K in 2009

Bob passed away unexpectedly last October.  He was strong, dedicated and faithful each and every day, regardless of the challenges that he faced in his life.  He is missed by family, friends and by our staff members who were honored to know this man.

Just as he had planned, Colin is living
safely in his home.  A nurse works with
him during the day and at night, a rotation of family and friends stay with
Colin to ensure his safety.

Bob was honored posthumously on May 23, 2012 at our annual
Got Heart, Give Hope® Gala.  With his
uncle by his side, Colin walked up to the stage and accepted this award from
Gary Sinise.  Bob would have been so
proud to see Colin walk up the stage—something that the doctors said he would
never do.

Colin accepts Bob’s award at the Got Heart, Give Hope Gala
Photo provided courtesy of Paul Oberle

Happy Father’s Day to all of our dedicated fathers.  Thank you for caring for our sons and
daughters in the military. Our military is strengthened by the dedication of family
members that surround our service members.

We have come to know that “changed” does not have to mean “diminished.”  We face many challenges on the road
ahead…physical, mental, emotional and financial, but we are happy to be blessed
with a chance to overcome these challenges.
–Bob Smith, written in his Wish
application in 2007