Justin L.

Justin is an Army veteran from Indiana. He entered service December 13, 2005 and was medically retired on April 5, 2016. Justin was a Staff Sergeant and Mortar Man. His service connected disability is 100% and he suffers from a rare condition known as Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). This rare disease causes tremendous nerve pain, swelling, and discoloration of the skin, and on the McGill Pain Scale, it is rated among the highest (most painful) conditions. Justin is attempting to raise awareness of this under-diagnosed disease. He has endured seven surgeries in nine months, requires a spinal cord stimulator, and has issues with vision and hearing. Despite the struggle, Justin has undergone and continues to struggle through intense rehabilitation to regain the ability to walk.

He loves being outdoors. He enjoys fishing, and when it comes to hunting, Justin says, “I’ll hunt anything I can eat!” He is an accomplished blacksmith/bladesmith who forges knives and swords as gifts or donates them for auctions and fund raisers that benefit his favorite charities. Justin has transformed his third car garage into his blacksmith shop and describes the forging process as a type of therapy. Knowing he can take out his frustrations on that metal, and still create something useful and beautiful is incredibly gratifying for Justin. He loves to teach others the skill and keeps railroad spikes in his shop to train Boy Scouts in the art of metal working. Justin is active and well-respected in his community where he volunteers by painting lines on the football, soccer, and baseball fields. He stays engaged with his family, coaching his kids’ football and soccer teams.

Justin had a chance to test-drive the TUC, and as he sat comfortably after driving up and down hills in gravel, grass, and soft clay, he began dreaming about all the things the TUC would allow him to do. “I just want to get out to the woods. That’s how we got our three-year-old potty trained -- so he could go hunting with Daddy! I want to get out there with them and teach my kids stuff, like why moss only grows on one side of a tree. I just want to be a parent and do normal guy stuff like mowing the grass or plowing the drive.” 

Justin then marveled at how long he’d been sitting comfortably in the TUC’s air ride seat and smiled as he said, “This thing just brings everything back to you. You don’t have to just sit in the house. It reminds you that you didn’t lose everything. You can still do it, just a different way.”

Awards

Army Achievement Award (3x)
Iraq Commendation Award (3x)
Indiana Commendation Award (8x)
Top Soldier of Indiana