Missouri Warrior

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Kansas City, MO


A technician with the 2nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Company, Marine Sergeant Dustin Johns was clearing an area of explosive hazards in the Sangin Valley, Afghanistan when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). The blast occurred on November 12, 2011 while Sgt Johns was on his second deployment, and resulted in the traumatic amputation of both legs and two fingers on his right hand.

After doctors performed life-saving surgeries at Camp Leatherneck, Sgt Johns was transported to Landstuhl, German and then flown stateside to Walter Reed in Bethesda. After just seven weeks of intensive therapies, Dustin was ready for his first step on prosthetics, his wife Melissa proudly watching on. But as the couple soon found out after Dustin was released from the hospital, learning to walk again would be just one of several challenges during his recovery.

As a Marine, Dustin was trained to adapt and overcome, and nowhere is this lesson more applicable than at his current home which is not navigable by wheelchair. The Johns presently live in a home with stairs, which Dustin must navigate with prosthetics which are often uncomfortable and painful when worn for many hours. Melissa worries about him slipping on the floor or getting injured while climbing the counters or “doing acrobatics” to reach for things in his quest to “do things himself.” A specially adapted home from Homes for Our Troops, they say, will alleviate all of these worries-and more.

The chance to live in an accessible home would mean the world to my wife and me,” says Dustin. “I would enjoy the security and freedom knowing that I could navigate my home without barriers.” Additionally, the Johns say that living mortgage-free will allow them to pursue their education. After Dustin completes his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, he plans on getting his masters in prosthetics and orthotics. Melissa would like to attend nursing school. In his spare time, Dustin enjoys playing golf, disc golf, hiking, skiing, and SCUBA diving. The two would like to thank the donors and supporters for this opportunity to help them rebuild their lives.

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