“[The Fund means] family. Reassurance that I am not forgotten.”
The accident happened during a combat training exercise.
Tyler was being hoisted into a hovering Blackhawk when the medic that he was training alongside accidentally fell out of the helicopter. Because they were attached to the same device, Tyler was pulled from the aircraft and fell over thirty feet to the ground.
The impact caused catastrophic injuries, including paralyzing Tyler from the waist down. He underwent multiple surgeries and extensive rehabilitation, during which Tyler’s family was first introduced to Semper Fi & America’s Fund through another member of The Fund family. To ensure Tyler’s independence and mobility when he returned home, The Fund provided him with an Action TrackChair, a wheelchair made for all types of terrain, and provided resources to aid with the healing of his mind, body, and spirit. Always inspired by Tyler’s tenacity and grit, The Fund has also assisted him with home modifications, grants for continuing education, medical supplies, family support, and help with his service dog, Able. For Tyler, and many members of our Fund family, the loyal companionship and endless support of a service dog has proved life-changing, creating an irreplaceable bond and a lifetime of friendship.
“Semper Fi & America’s Fund isn’t a one-and-done program,” said Tyler. “They understand that the injuries suffered last a lifetime. Physical issues are permanent, and the mental struggles come in waves. And every time I reach out, they are there for me.”
An avid athlete, Tyler has also participated in many Team Semper Fi athletic events, which have kept him in the best possible physical shape and provided connections with other veterans on their own unique journeys to healing. Tyler also competes in adaptive surf competitions and serves on the board of Wake For Warriors — an organization first introduced to him by Team Semper Fi that promotes healing for injured veterans and their families through water sports.
“Team Semper Fi connects veterans with similar injuries to help them adapt and get ideas on how to conquer these new struggles. No rehabilitation therapist can give you that knowledge,” said Tyler.
Always planning for the future, Tyler has been working hard to walk with an exoskeleton and is now a certified commercial pilot — his love for all things aviation as strong as ever.
“I have a commercial pilot’s license, and I would love to try and get back in the cockpit, flying with adaptive equipment,” he said.
For Tyler, knowing The Fund will always be there has filled him with a sense of hope, independence, and confidence in knowing that he can achieve whatever goals he sets.
“I just can’t say enough great things about this organization. They connect other disabled veterans and provide them with equipment and events that just simply save lives. So grateful.”