On June 8, 2011, Specialist Charlie Lemon (3rd Cavalry Regiment – Fort Hood, Texas) was just two months away from coming home from his tour of duty in Iraq, when his life changed forever. While on a routine mission, Charlie's Humvee was struck by an IED that severed his legs, and struck his best friend, PFC Matthew England, in the neck. The vehicle continued rolling forward, and when Charlie regained consciousness, he realized that his best friend was unresponsive. 29 surgeries and a very strenuous recovery year later, Charlie considers himself one of the “lucky ones”.
Since the incident, Charlie has undergone extensive recovery in San Antonio, Texas at Brooke Army Medical Center and the Center For The Intrepid, Ft Sam Houston. Because of his will, Charlie completed what should have been a 12-18 month recovery period, in an astonishing 6 MONTHS! His tenacity and drive has afforded some incredible experiences over the past year, from skydiving and water skiing, to surfing and even getting certified in scuba diving. Charlie also has a new found passion for hand cycling, and recently participated in the MS 150 in Central Texas, and will soon compete in the “Warriors on Wheels Ride”, which is a 6-day, 505 mile bike ride from Wichita Falls to Corpus Christi, Texas.
Charlie focuses on what he CAN do, instead of what he cannot, and spends so much time encouraging others to do the same. His determination is inspirational, and his passion for life is contagious.
Thanks to Ashley Kamrath of The Real Heroes, we discovered that Charlie really wanted to return to his home in St. Petersburg, FL to visit his family for Thanksgiving, but wasn't able to afford the flight home. So, this past weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway, Ashley, Johanna Long, ML Motorsports and our W4OH team, granted Charlie's wish by providing a round-trip plane ticket for Charlie to fly home and be with his family for Thanksgiving.