When military servicemembers deploy, it’s tradition to count down the number of days left, towards the end, until they will return to their family and friends in the States. Lance Corporal (LCpl) Jeremy Thomas, United States Marine Corps, had 30 days left until he would head home to see his wife, Jesica, and his young daughter.
When setting security on a compound, LCpl Thomas laid in a prone position on the roof of a building in Sangan, Afghanistan. He put his left hand on a pressure plate, which set off an improvised explosive device (IED) in the roof. Mad he almost made it home without being hit, LCpl Thomas put his tourniquet on the exposed bone and hanging flesh around his left wrist; his left hand was gone. The corpsman hit LCpl Thomas’ wallet with his last morphine vial instead of LCpl Thomas’ leg, by accident, making the wait for the helicopter pickup a long one for LCpl Thomas, he explained laughing.
The injuries LCpl Thomas sustained were many: left hand amputation, an irrecoverable artery in his upper right arm, right foot shattered, and shrapnel wounds throughout his body, which is slowly making its way out of his body. When Furnishing Hope furnished his new home in San Diego he had ten surgeries, and more to come.
Like many of the military wives Furnishing Hope has met along the way, Jesica is a strong and caring individual. As LCpl Thomas’ caregiver, she researched post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and recognized the signs in her husband. After meeting in Le Grande, Oregon, and knowing her husband for five years, she knew things changed when he returned, aside from his physical injuries.
LCpl Thomas sought counseling at the request of Jesica. Like many people in the military, LCpl acknowledged, “I have a hard time admitting that I need help and I can’t do what I used to be able to do.”
Being the caregiver and spouse of a wounded warrior is not an easy path, either. Jesica disclosed, “It’s really hard to be a Marine Corps wife; it was really hard raising [our daughter] by myself. ” She continued, “It’s really hard, controlling his life and [our daughter’s], that’s challenging. When he got back, it was hard to adjust from being independent to having to be with someone else, again.” Amidst the challenges, Jesica is delighted her husband returned and can pursue his dream of becoming a welder and she can pursue hers of becoming a beautician.
The Furnishing Hope team had a fun day with the Thomas family. Living Spaces furniture and support from BECCA Swim made this installation possible, along with the strength of the many volunteers who helped hang the Thomas’ new flat screen TV on the wall, when requested. A few of the team members took a special liking to the Thomas’ young daughter because of her adorable charm and also her parents’ nice dispositions.
Learn more about Furnishing Hope’s work with the Thomas family here.