The Zoom Life – Justin Bond, part 1
Justin Bond had already served in the military, but when terrorists struck US soil on September 11, 2001, Justin reenlisted. In 2004, during the Battle of Fallujah, he was shot through both knees and despite multiple surgeries, he lost his left leg above the knee.
Justin spent months at Walter Reed Army Medical Center undergoing surgeries and recovering from his wounds. During his time there, he saw his fellow veterans struggling through the process of recovery, often spending months and even years at Walter Reed, separated from their families and support systems.
With ready access to alcohol and prescription medications, veterans who were already suffering from devastating injuries and/or PTSD were left alone to self-medicate and spiral into depression. Family visits were the most important catalyst to motivate the veterans to stop self-medicating, focus on rehabilitation and work toward recovery.
Though family visits were key to restoring a sense of normality to those struggling to get better, the military only paid for their family to visit one time and most families could not afford the expense of travel or lodging.
Though Justin lost his leg, he also found something important during the process – his new mission in his post-deployment life. He saw and experienced first hand the devastating hardships that veterans face when they come home from war.
Because of that, Justin worked to raise money and awareness for this issue and his testimony before Congress was instrumental in bringing about policy changes that allowed more family visits to their loved ones in recovery. With other nonprofits moving in to meet that specific need, Justin moved on to raise funds for improved morale and recreation opportunities for deployed soldiers in the field of combat.
While still in the hospital, Justin was brought a wheelchair to use after his amputation and told that he needed to use it. Not wanting to use a wheelchair, he sought out other options and was provided a Segway. The Segway worked well for him by allowing him to go farther than he would be able to walk on his own, but it was still limited to paved or smooth surfaces.
Then he was introduced to the Zoom through the Independence Fund. “It opened up more doors, more avenues to get out… and it’s fun!,” Justin explained. “It’s a tool that affords me the ability to live life like normal in the outdoors and a tool that allows me to keep up with my kids!” Justin especially enjoys using his Zoom to access the rugged outdoors and to join his kids on bike rides.
Just has done more than survive his injuries and post-war adjustment into civilian life – he has thrived by setting an example and giving back to his community of fellow veterans who face difficult challenges when they come home.
For more on Justin’s struggles and triumphs, including his upcoming 2200 mile ride on a Zoom to raise awareness for the issue of veteran suicides and funding for Camp Freedom to help veterans in need, check out our next installment of The Zoom Life!