“The impact of these trips was powerful,” shares medically retired United States Army National Guard Sergeant Eduardo Fuentes-Bueno, as he reflects on time camping with his family. “Everything around me was so quiet and peaceful. My family relaxed as well and we all shared something in common for the first time in a long time.”
Peace and quiet are feelings that Fuentes-Bueno hasn’t felt since February 26, 2012, when he and his team defending a combat post fell under attack, injuring him and nine others. Medically evacuated from Kunduz Province in Afghanistan, he was rushed into surgery due to shrapnel in his brain, eye and other parts of his body from a grenade explosion.
Once Fuentes-Bueno arrived at Walter Reed National Medical Center, he was on the road to recovery, receiving care from their Traumatic Brain Injury ward. After three months, he was transferred to continue therapy at the Poly-Trauma Unit at Palo Alto Veterans Hospital in California. In 2014, he medically retired and was awarded a Purple Heart.
Still actively seeking treatment for both his psychological and physical injuries, Fuentes-Bueno’s drive to positively live a normal life, post-injury and outside of the military, is admirable. Since retiring, he supported fellow veterans in need through the 2-1-1 Veterans Helpline and is now pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice at Glendale Community College in Phoenix, Arizona.
With a restored sense of self through his career and educational endeavors, Fuentes-Bueno focused on restoring HOPE in his family by applying for A Warrior’s Wish.
After serving four years in the Marine Corps and two years with the Army National Guard, deploying multiple times and spending years focused on recovery, quality family time for the Fuentes-Bueno family was rare. He was awarded camper rentals in the summer of 2017 with the provision to re-apply in 2018 for the purchase of a camper. Due to the positive impact on those camping trips, he wished for a pull behind camper of his own, and Hope For The Warriors made that wish come true!
Today, Fuentes-Bueno, his wife and two beautiful children enjoy the serenity of the outdoors, exploring our beautiful country in their 2018 Jayco JayFlight SLX 174BH trailer.