Indiana Warrior

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CPL ZACHARY NELSON

Nobelsville, IN

“Having a place to call home, to establish roots, and to raise a family in the future is one of the greatest blessings I can imagine.”

On July 5, 2012, just two days before his twenty-first birthday, Marine Corporal Zachary Nelson was severely injured in a vehicle rollover on a mission to Camp Delaram in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Cpl Nelson, stationed as gunner on top of the vehicle, was crushed in the accident and could not move his legs; other members of the Regimental Combat Team 6 sustained serious injuries as well. The last thing Cpl Nelson recalls after the accident is his best friend kneeling next to him keeping him calm before he was loaded on the MEDEVAC chopper. Upon his medical evacuation to Kandahar, Cpl Nelson learned that he had sustained a T-4 complete spinal injury, rendering him paralyzed from the chest down.

After undergoing a 13-hour surgery to stabilize his spine and months of aggressive physical and occupational therapies at Walter Reed and James Haley VA in Tampa, Zachary continues to focus on his recovery in Indiana. Now medically retired, he is engaged to Kiley Moreillon and the couple is planning a November 2014 wedding. In his spare time, Zachary enjoys football and basketball; he’s also a car and truck enthusiast.

Receiving a specially adapted home from Homes for Our Troops, Zachary says, will eliminate many of the obstacles he faces on a daily basis. Specifically, Zachary says he is looking forward to simple things like being able to carry groceries on his wheelchair from the garage without struggling over thresholds in doorways. He also has difficulty reaching and bending for items, so features such as pull-down cabinets and a roll-under sinks will be a huge help to completing his everyday activities. He also feels the home will return freedom to Kiley too, as she wouldn’t have to worry about him being home alone during the day. A mortgage-free home will also allow Zachary to concentrate on starting college and give Kiley an opportunity to focus on her career as a nurse.

“Thank you to Homes for Our Troops and your supporters for the generosity and compassion you show toward wounded Veterans,” says Zachary.

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