"I think my PTSD goes as far back as East Timor," Jeremy
said in one of our many conversations.
Jeremy Weissmiller, who recently joined our group, joined the Marine Corps in March of 1998, something he was planning to do for life.
first deployment was to Saudi Arabia to help with their military training.
While serving in Saudi Arabia, a brutal civil war was raging between Timor and East Timor.
The Marines were sent there to protect the America Embassy
, one of their many jobs around the world.
told us what he
witnessed there was even more brutal than what he
later saw in Iraq or Afghanistan.
There was not much heavy weaponry; consequently, many of casualties were sustained in hand to hand combat, up close and personal.
The savagery was everywhere and was often inflicted with a cruel and prolonged agony.
When 9-11 happened, he
immediately knew we were going to war, and like any good Warrior, he
was ready to put all his
training to use and fight the righteous fight.
unit, a part of 1st Battalion 1st Marines
, was one of the first deployed to Afghanistan, in October 2001.
On Christmas day 2001, Jeremy
was unloading ammo from a helicopter when the cargo net broke and a 500 pound crate fell on him.
He suffered several broken vertebrae, bladder damage and a host of other injuries as result of that accident.
On February 2002 he
was medi-vac'ed back to the states where he
worked hard to rehabilitate and restore his
body and become fit enough to return to the fight.
Almost a year to the day after his
was medically released and redeployed, this time to Kuwait.
Jeremy in Iraq
On March 17 2003 the FSSG (Force Service Support Group) entered Iraq and with them was Marine Weapons and Battle Instructor Sgt Jeremy Weissmiller.
Three weeks in to Iraq he
was injured by an IED explosion.
woke up, he
was stateside at Balboa Medical Center
The combination of those two injuries has left Jeremy
is what they refer to as an incomplete paraplegic.
has been rated 100% disabled by the VA.
has endured four back surgeries and countless hours of rehabilitation.
can't walk but a few feet and then only on good days; he
is wheelchair bound most of the time.
suffers from sleep apnea, a disorder that requires a machine (CPAP) to force him to breathe in case he
stops breathing while sleeping, and most damaging of all are PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and TBI (traumatic brain injury).
That's a very short version of Jeremy's story of service and sacrifice for our country.
They do miracles from the battlefield to the local hospital, but once in a while, some of our guys fall through the cracks and Jeremy
was one of them.
first contacted us and told us his
situation and what he
was going through, my first thought was "That's not Right.
There is a network of volunteers that gladly and willingly give of their time and money to help guys like Jeremy
when their situations are brought into the spot light.
was just one of those cases- a Marine who served his
country over and above the call of duty and yet, at the end of the day, didn't have the gas money to visit the VA hospital that had the expertise to best treat his
We sent out an email simply telling his
The following day he
began to receive calls.
Shortly thereafter he
received additional travel allowance funds.
received several calls from other groups as well as some higher ups in the VA who took an interest in the case and are now helping with application process for the TSGLI insurance money.
We're keeping our fingers crossed because he
has been told that it looks good and he
If so, that will be an earned benefit, albeit very late in coming, but a Godsend to a guy just trying to get gas money to make it to the VA hospital of choice more often.
Many people have helped Jeremy
before and after we got involved.
It would be presumptuous on our part to think that all good things happened because of us; that is simply not true, rather it is a team effort.
But for this foundation and its volunteers, the process has been an education.
The first lesson is how easy it is for a person suffering from TBI and PTSD to fall through the cracks.
The second lesson is that the VA is now aware of this and will act quickly, not necessarily to everyone's satisfaction, but more quickly, if made aware of cases such as Jeremy's
Below is Jeremy
, Manny Rivas- blind, Sgt Major Jesse Acosta
We are all very grateful to that core of wonderful volunteers that go to bat for guys like Jeremy
every day and say "That's not Right!