Wounded Times

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Afghanistan veteran with TBI struggling after dog was shot

Is this something that should happen when they come home? Read about everything going on in his life and then as the reporter writes, get ready to have your heart broken.

Veteran with brain injury faces steep bills after his dog was shot
KATU News
By Erica Nochlin
KATU.com staff
Published: Sep 26, 2013

CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. – Be prepared to have your heart broken.
Luke Hunt is an Army veteran who suffered a traumatic brain injury while fighting in Afghanistan in 2010.

He’s divorced, he’s unemployed and he doesn’t have a car.

The one thing he does have is his dog, Pepper.

Earlier this week, somebody shot Pepper. Now Hunt faces a choice: Come up with thousands of dollars to fix Pepper’s leg, or have the leg amputated.

“It’s weird to say this and I know my family understands this when I say this … but she can’t talk back, and she just lays there and listens to me,” Hunt said. “I have more conversations with the things that I struggle with. Any nightmares I have, I wake up to her. She knows when I’m having a nightmare - I open my eyes and she’s licking my face.”

Hunt was a medic in the 101st Airborne Division when it was involved in a nearly 20-hour firefight in Kunar Province in June 2010. He said a friendly-fire bomb was mistakenly dropped about 25 feet away, leaving him with injuries he didn’t immediately recognize.

Once he got back to safety, he found himself frequently lost, confused, disoriented and unable to remember conversations he’d had just few minutes before.

“The traumatic brain injury is the one I deal with the most,” he said. “But I maintained in country for the rest of my deployment because I did the same thing every single day, all day.

“I didn’t start seeing those issues until I got back. Until there was more than just a horn blowing telling you when to eat breakfast lunch and dinner.”

Life got worse for Hunt when he got home.

He had won two medals and a Purple Heart, but the losses kept mounting.

Heat or stress can cause him to black out. Divorce ruined his credit. His car was repossessed because he couldn’t remember to make the payments.
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