When Lance Corporal Tim Lang was in high school, he knew he wanted to be part of something bigger than himself and remembers struggling to feel a calling in his life. But on September 11, 2001, as he watched the planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, his purpose became clear: he would fight against the fear these terrorist attacks caused society and defend the United States from any additional attacks.
After spending a semester at college, Tim joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2005. Soon after, he left for bootcamp before attending infantry school where he joined the 1st Battalion 24th Marines Charlie Company as an infantryman. Within a few short months, he and his unit were activated and deployed to Fallujah, Iraq.
While in Iraq, on October 15, 2006, Tim and several of his fellow Marines were on a mounted patrol when their vehicle struck an IED. The blast launched Tim 40 feet through the air, resulting in significant injuries to his right leg and to his head and neck. When he regained consciousness, he immediately crawled to the vehicle to assist the survivors. Though he was able to pull a fellow Marine from the wreckage, the blast took the lives of two Marines that day.
At the time of his injury, Tim felt that his injuries were minor compared to those of his fellow Marines. However, his injuries to his right leg would prove to be some of the most complicated to treat. Tim underwent twenty-six surgeries in an attempt to save his right leg. However, the doctors eventually concluded the best option would be to amputate his leg below the knee.
As he recovered in the hospital, on Thanksgiving Day that year, Tim’s entire family–including his eleven siblings–surprised him in his hospital room. They brought with them a full Thanksgiving meal catered from a local restaurant. “I can’t even express what having my family there meant to me,” Tim said. He learned that Semper Fi & America’s Fund were responsible not only for the meal, but also his family members’ plane tickets. “What that let me know is that there was an organization that had my back and was thankful for the sacrifices that I had made,” Tim recalls. Beginning that day, The Fund became another member of Tim’s large family.
Tim spent the next four years undergoing multiple surgeries and revisions, including nerve resection, amputation revisions, and bone grafts. The Fund flew his wife and his mother out several times over the course of those four years to be with him.
Throughout his physical therapy, Tim became skilled at golf, finding it to be both a physical and mental outlet for him. “I would practice eight to ten hours a day between surgeries,” he said, “it really helped me get through a difficult time of life.”
When he returned home to Michigan, with assistance from The Fund, Tim and his wife purchased their first home. “The Fund put us in the place to start our life together financially stable,” Tim said, “Because of that, we have been in a better position to follow their example and give back to our community.” The Fund also helped install hardwood flooring in their home so Tim could more easily move in his wheelchair.
Today, Tim and his wife still live in Michigan with their two children. Tim says he looks forward to the day when he can teach his children the game of golf. “They will keep me young on the golf course,” he laughs.
The Fund has treasured being a part of Tim’s family over the years.
“Semper Fi & America’s Fund is dedicated to complete recovery,” Tim said. “Oftentimes, the most difficult part of recovery can be coming home– when you’re no longer surrounded by your fellow Marines or the doctors and nurses at the hospital. The Fund is there to make sure you have support through all parts of recovery.”