HM2 Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Thompson: The “Framily” Around You
If you ask HM2 Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Thompson and his wife Ivonne what helped them through the long, hard days while Anthony fought for his life after being injured in Iraq, this is the answer you’ll hear.
“In this world of post injury, you find out you can’t do it alone,” said Ivonne. “Friends became our family … or our ‘framily’.”
Inspired by his father’s legacy, Anthony knew he’d one day serve in the military after his father – a Marine – passed away while Anthony was in high school. He later joined the Navy, became a Hospital Corpsman, and served two deployments to Iraq. In 2007 during Anthony’s second deployment, a suicide bomber detonated a truck filled with over 3,000 pounds of explosives underneath the overpass where Anthony and seven Marines were stationed. The bridge collapsed, throwing each man off their post. Anthony landed 50 feet below before being pinned in the rubble and suffered severe traumatic brain injuries and a spinal cord injury.
That was when Anthony’s fight for his life began.
After Anthony was stabilized in Germany, Ivonne, who was 20 weeks pregnant with their first child – a son – joined her husband to support him at his bedside. Together, they returned to the States for Anthony’s treatments at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.There, Ivonne was introduced to Semper Fi & America’s Fund.“
The Fund stepped in really early on, and they have kept up with us since,” said Ivonne. “The Fund’s support is all encompassing.”
Anthony spent eleven weeks (six in the ICU and five in the medical surgical unit) at Walter Reed before being transferred to the polytrauma unit at James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa. During this time, Ivonne connected with other families in similar situations and even shared about how The Fund had walked beside her family during Anthony’s recovery. These new friends became one another’s support system to provide a unique level of care and comfort throughout these difficult times – they were what Anthony and Ivonne affectionately called their “framily”, going above and beyond anything they ever imagined after Ivonne gave birth to AJ.
Over the next three years, Anthony spent hours each day in occupational, physical, speech, and recreational therapies. As his healing progressed, their Fund case manager, Sara, sent gift cards and often checked Ivonne’s social media for any opportunity to support the Thompson family throughout their therapy sessions and ongoing treatments. Ivonne has also attended caregiver retreats, which provide activities, education, support tools, and resources to assist caregivers, as well as a network of support between those facing similar circumstances.
And in 2017, on the 10th anniversary of Anthony’s injury, The Fund helped organize a reunion with the other “Bridge Marines”, which Ivonne described as “the best weekend for all of us.” For the first time since the explosion in Iraq, the Marines and Anthony were reunited, providing invaluable support as the Marines offered Ivonne help with anything she might need for Anthony and shared stories with ten-year-old AJ about his father’s incredible courage and heroic adventures.
Nowadays, the Thompson family enjoys watching movies together, watching AJ play sports, cooking at home, and going on new adventures as often as possible. Inspired by Anthony, Ivonne, and AJ’s constant positivity, compassionate hearts, and endless warmth, The Fund has cherished being in their lives all these years and looks forward to continuing to be a part of their “framily” for many more to come.