NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Along with the pain, spending his days in a hospital bed has become normal for Corporal Jeremy Voels.
“I color to pass time,” Fort Campbell soldier Voels told News 2.
With pictures of his two kids on the walls, the corporal’s son and daughter don’t know their dad any differently.
For nearly six years, hospital rooms have been his home.
“I don’t care; I really don’t. I’ve gotten past all of that. All I care about is watching my kids grow up,” something he was told he wouldn’t get to see.
On Sept. 15, 2010, while on duty in Afghanistan, Voels was shot in his lower back by a sniper.
“I’d seen blood coming out of my chest and realized I was shot,” he said.
Voels, who enlisted at the age of 19, was paralyzed from the waist down.
“That vertebrae blew up like an IED inside of me and all of the bone fragments bounced around in my abdominal cavity, causing multiple lacerations to every single organ in my body except for the direct body of my heart and the direct body of my lungs,” he told News 2.
Voels has since spent his life in and out of about a half dozen hospitals and undergone more than 200 surgeries, saying he quit counting after 200.
One of those surgeries deteriorated what progress he had made.
“I went to have abdominal reconstructive surgery and my spine was lacerated with an epidural.” He went on to explain that now he is paralyzed from his chest down.
Embodying the American spirit of sacrifice, The Joshua Chamberlain Society, or JCS, stepped in to help him.
The unique mission of JCS is that it adopts wounded soldiers; Voels was their first.
“When they adopt you, they take you and your family and they are there for you for life.”
Because injuries like Voels’ are forever, so is the support of the organization that operates by volunteers.
“Without JCS, I would not have been able to come home when I did. I would not have been able to spend those couple of months at home and with my kids,” he explained.
With his kids names tattooed on his shoulder, Voels is confident he’s only alive to watch his little ones live.
“That’s the only reason I’m still around. I truly believe that anyways.”
The JCS will hold a concert for Combat Injured Heroes April 7 at the Franklin Theater. The event is one of the ways the society raises money to aid wounded military heroes. For more information, click here.