On October 1st, 2011, Petty Officer First Class Andrew Bottrell was fighting for his life after being critically injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. He suffered the amputation of both of his legs and his left arm in the explosion, and due to the severity of his wounds, he was medevaced off the battlefield and received life-saving medical care in Germany before returning to the States.
At Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Andrew’s family first encountered Semper Fi & America’s Fund when they provided all-encompassing support throughout his challenging recovery. The Fund made certain that his family never carried any burden, both financial and emotional, alone. Because of this, they remained at Andrew’s bedside to offer invaluable encouragement throughout his numerous surgeries and months of rehabilitation.
“The Fund came to my family when I had just gotten to the hospital. They were immediately helpful to me and my family going through that time and have continued to be helpful,” he said.
Determined never to be defeated, Andrew set for himself an incredible goal of walking again — an amazing accomplishment he remarkably achieved only two and half months later. With the full support of his family and with The Fund by his side, Andrew “spent the next year learning to really use my prosthetics well. I had to learn how to walk and move on the prosthetic legs and work a prosthetic arm.”
In the years since his injuries, Andrew has continued to live without limitations, constantly challenging himself to work harder and break through any barriers to success. The Fund has supported him all along the way by offsetting the cost of an adaptive vehicle, travel to medical appointments, and physical training sessions to ensure Andrew had everything needed to achieve his highest mental and physical well-being, the result of which has profoundly impacted his journey for the better and inspired him toward greatness.
“Whenever I bring a need to The Fund, they help with a solution,” said Andrew. “Having someone to call whenever something may go wrong is a very reassuring option to have. They are instrumental in my family’s peace of mind.”
Along with spending time with his wife and young daughter, Andrew is an avid hunter with a deep passion for cooking — two things which he considers his favorite hobbies. He has no plans to slow down but rather continue to live a life full of independence, perseverance, resilience, and optimism, all traits that Andrew embodies as he continues to thrive as a triple amputee.
“Having a good life or living well,” Andrew said when asked what motivated him to stay hopeful throughout his recovery. “The harder I work at my life and being a better person, the better my life gets.”