SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Since its founding in 2004, Warrior Foundation Freedom Station has been serving military heroes, who have either been injured during combat or who suffer from P.T.S.D.
The foundation honors and supports service members with transitional housing and other services including adaptive sports therapy.
Retired Marine veteran Jesse Williamson has developed quite the golf game, and he said it helps him in many ways.
“When I’m out playing, it kind of keeps me focused and in the moment,” said Williamson.
His military service began in March of 2008 when he enlisted in the Marines and attended boot camp at MCRD San Diego. He deployed to Afghanistan and during a mission in early 2009, his Humvee was hit by an I.E.D.
“It was probably the most pain I’ve ever been in in my life,” said Williamson. “My staff sergeant, who was in the vehicle behind me, ran up, grabbed me, and dragged me off.”
Williamson was flown to a hospital at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, and when he woke up, the doctor walked over to him.
“My first question was, ‘Did any of my friends make it?’ And he said, ‘No,’ and I kind of just sat there and cried by myself for a little while.”
After a number of surgeries, Williamson’s feet couldn’t be saved so his lower legs were amputated from the shin down.
“Coming back from that, I was kind of an angry person and I didn’t really have the correct outlets,” said Williamson.
That’s when Warrior Foundation Freedom Station came into Williamson’s life, gave him a place to live, and helped him get back on track.
“The bathroom is pretty nice,” said Williamson. “It’s all wheelchair-accessible.”
“He is purple heart,” said Warrior Foundation Freedom Station C.E.O./Founder Sandy Lehmkuhler. “He’s come through a lot of dark periods in his life, but he is on track now.”
Williamson is attending college full-time and has found an important outlet in the game of golf.
In fact, he qualified for the elite Simpson Cup U.S.A. Team, which recently played and won against Team Great Britain at the Creek Club in New York.
“I was actually pretty nervous,” said Williamson. “But I do pretty well under pressure I think.”
Williamson has a natural drive to better himself, and with a little help along the way from Warrior Foundation Freedom Station, this warrior is proving that nothing can hold him back.
“He is an incredible man and I think this country should have about 2 million more just like him,” said Sandy.
CBS 8 is partnering with Warrior Foundation Freedom Station for their annual Give-A-Thon, which helps send these veterans home for the holidays.
This year’s Give-A-Thon telethon is Friday, Nov. 19 from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.
For more information, go to their website.
WATCH RELATED: Extended interview: Purple Heart Marine helps other struggling veterans (November 2021)