The Fund provides wounded Army Ranger unexpected support
Elkhorn man and family thank Semper Fi & America’s Fund nonprofit for ongoing care
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - On a gray and chilly Friday afternoon, you won’t find Kyle and Taylor Emmons complaining about the weather.
Not after what they’ve been through since his unit was ambushed in Afghanistan nearly ten years ago.
“It probably took a good year or two to come to terms with it all, and be like, well, it’s either accept it and move forward or be miserable,” he said.
The Sergeant is referring to the months that followed his Alive Day, as he said its called, the one he wasn’t supposed to survive. Some in the 75th Ranger Regiment 3rd Battalion did not. It came in his second tour on October 6, 2013, when an improvised explosive device took Sergeant Emmons’ leg, his eye and forever changed his life.
He said he never lost hope, thanks to his wife’s support and those who came to his aid back on U.S. soil at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. That’s when he first heard about the nonprofit support organization Semper Fi & America’s Fund, known simply as The Fund. He was rehabbing, and took his first steps four months after the injury.
“I had to wait a week before he came back state side (to just see) the condition that he’s in, to see what do we have to work with,” Terry said. Neither of them were prepared to navigate the many challenges facing them. “These foundations, especially Semper Fi & America’s Fund, they reach out and they really care about everyone.”
The Emmons knew nothing about The Fund before, but now say the nonprofit is always there. They know they have some place to turn for help, from the big things like paying off a wheelchair accessible car to the big little things, like finding a crib for Elie when Kyle was going through the grueling days of rehab.
“We reached out to them and said ‘hey you know do you guys know of any adaptable cribs or you know things that might be easier, something I could work in out of my wheelchair,’” he said. “They said ‘yeah absolutely no problem.’ They picked it right up and they found one for us.”
And Ellie, well, she’s an ordinary two-year-old, laughing and dancing and singing and keeping an eye out for what she calls daddy’s special robot leg, which currently sports a Mickey Mouse sticker.
“She does make it a point to say ‘dad, why isn’t your robot leg on?” Taylor said. “She knows... about it, and we let her know... we’re not afraid of the injury or accident that’s happened and we would rather educate others.”
The couple, both 30, wanted a fresh start this past year and relocated from their native Oklahoma to Nebraska. They now live in Elkhorn where Taylor plans to return to teaching and Kyle focuses on being the best dad and husband he can be.
“Losing a limb is not easy and it changes your way of life,” Taylor said. “It took some time to figure out (with) a little push that you can go to the gym, you can still do what you did before, its just a little different.”
Kyle said he doesn’t need the wheelchair very often now, and has returned to the weight room in earnest. As for educating others, he wants his brothers and sisters in arms to understand that asking for help is not a weakness.
“That was the biggest thing for me to get over, that I could shoulder it all and do it all by myself,” he said. “We lose too many guys and gals to themselves, their own minds, whatever it may be every single day, don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
“It’s the greatest country in the world for a reason, right?” Kyle said. “We have these great people that live in this country that all want to help. If they don’t know how or who to help, that’s why we have organizations like Semper Fi & America’s Fund. They’re here to help.”
Providing support and even retreats for caregivers like Taylor have also been a blessing for families like the Emmons as well. Heading into the holidays when times can be even more difficult for veterans adjusting and learning to live with challenges, they encourage anyone needing help of any kind to reach out.
For those looking to support Semper Fi & America’s Fund, the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation will match donations up to $10 million between now and December 31.
...as he gets stronger with his prostehetic leg that ellie calls his robot leg... kyle doesn’t have to spend as much time in a wheelchair these days...
the couple just moved to elkhorn this past year... and are expecting a little brother or sister for ellie this coming year...
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