An initiative to help a wounded veteran take his physical limits to the sky has turned into helping other wounded warriors test their limits as well. Tyler Nelson wanted to help his battle buddy Spc. Jesse Murphree become a certified skydiver after having a double leg amputation and other surgeries.
Murphree was a member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, and on December 27, 2007 he suffered serious injuries from a roadside bombing. He then woke up in Walter Reed Medical Center on January 1, 2008. Murphree went through a double leg amputation and 60 more surgeries, but he didn’t let his new body hold him back. He continued exploring the outdoors, scuba diving, and skiing.
Murphree kept pushing his limits and set his next challenge to becoming a certified skydiver. He ran into several roadblocks, including close calls with injury and wavering motivation. Nelson then stepped in to help Murphree reignite his motivation.
Nelson had skydived with Todd Love, a triple amputee who lost both legs and an arm in an IED blast in 2010. Nelson called Murphree after jumping and told him if a triple amputee can jump then he should get back in the air.
Once Murphee regained his passion, Nelson called several jump schools and gear companies to get the plan off the ground. He also created a Fundly page to raise money. The whole initiative took off as Axis Flight School in Arizona sponsored the jump training and a gear company offered a custom flight suit.
The plan to get Murphree in the air turned into something much more. Now, Nelson plans to donate the funds to Operation Enduring Warrior Skydive with the fundraising goal at $10,000. Nelson and Murphree have been inspired by the community’s support and want to pay it forward to the next wounded warrior.
The finale of the fundraising effort is this weekend at Skydive Tuskegee in Alabama, where the actual Tuskegee Airmen received their training.
Stories like this are a prime example of the power found within a network of friends and professionals who support and test one another to get better everyday. It’s important for military community members to take care of their own, and it’s powerful when one person’s story and dreams cause a ripple affect to help others. Have you seen other cases of communities coming together for a service member? What are some unique ways you’ve seen people lend a helping hand to a veteran in need?
Start the discussion here and connect within the military network.
Image Copyright: Spc. Mike MacLeod