While serving in Afghanistan, Lance Corporal Michael Gonzales suffered the loss of his left leg; left eye; severe damage to his right leg, left arm, and chest; various burns; deep scarring; and a traumatic brain injury. Semper Fi & America’s Fund first met Michael at his hospital bedside in 2010, where he and his family learned that he wouldn’t have to deal with the lifelong effects of his injuries alone. Most recently, The Fund’s support granted him an invaluable gift — the chance to walk again.
“For the last 12 years, I’ve had the ability to walk taken from me, and once again, The Fund aided in the possibility that I could walk with newer technology,” said Michael, who recently underwent osseointegration surgery to attach a prosthetic directly to the limb. This was possible because of The Fund’s commitment to lasting care in treating all aspects of well-being, including a vital emphasis on improving the health of the mind, body, and spirit.
Specifically, the relationship Michael shares with his SF&AF case manager has drastically helped with the lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. His case manager has provided critical comfort during life’s most difficult moments and unending support as they celebrate life’s joys together, such as the incredible moment when Michael began to walk again.
“The Fund has given me a person who cares about my life. I can speak for many when I say that’s what matters. I never knew people could be that resourceful. It’s not one thing of financial help or aid, but all of it with someone genuine. That is the real impact in my life,” said Michael. “The Fund is always there hoping for the best for you, aiding in the ways they can and in the ways that make lifelong differences. They inspire hope despite difficult situations, believing in you even when you don’t believe in yourself. They are different from any other organization that claims they represent us because, in their own way, they are just a part of us. Semper Fi & America’s Fund is family.”