Ed. Note: Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century.
Life often drives and deceives us. However, no amount of deception that comes from the external world begins to equate to how much we deceive ourselves when moments of traumatic events cause us to lose our innocence.
This realization occurred to me during my days in Walter Reed Medical Hospital as a wounded soldier. I was driving a military truck down a dusty road in Iraq when an IED explosion ripped the wheel out of my hands. My truck flipped 10 times crushing my pelvis, fracturing my back and causing me to suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
As I lay in a hospital bed allowing time to heal my wounds, I truly found myself with a sense of peace and comfort. I realized that my story is not going to define me but I would allow my story to shape other individual’s stories through spiritual hope. James Lane Allen said it best when he said, “Adversity in life doesn’t build character, it reflects character.” Using my story to develop, motivate, uplift and inspire young minds through faith and their worldly wounds, I would assist others in transitioning back home from military service or from traumatic events that destiny put them in.
Being a father drove me to will myself to recover from the injuries I sustained in Iraq. My passion for my children overrode the pain and frustration that I felt on a daily basis. Thinking about my children was my daily medication to overcome this ordeal. Generations of fathers that I know gave me a sense of purpose, direction and passion which allowed me to be not only a good father but also an even better soldier. Those men are true stewards of quality parenting and I can only pay it forward. Being a father has become my social identity in the most positive light. I can only thank God and the fathers that modeled me with their selflessness and dedication for the father first mentality.
Thomas Green III is a US Army Veteran, deployed in Iraq. He was awarded a Purple Heart after being seriously injured by an IED.