1SG William Leonard
Mission Accomplished on November 9, 2013
Army 1SG William “Mike” Leonard was on his 4th deployment when he lost both of his legs in an IED blast in Southern Helmand Province, Afghanistan on March 22, 2010. While escorting an Afghan Army squad back to base after they had participated in the initial phase of a search mission, the vehicle carrying 1SG Leonard and his teammates ran over an IED, the blast tearing into the vehicle.
Initially knocked unconscious by the force of the blast, Mike began calling for help to evacuate the vehicle, to “get the guys,” and remembers hearing voices telling him to lie down. In a coma for three days, and revived a total of three times, 1SG Leonard had no recollection of being in Bagram, Afghanistan or Landstuhl, Germany before waking up at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, his wife, Cheryl by his side. It was then that Mike learned that he had lost his right leg below the knee, seriously injured his left foot which eventually needed to be amputated, broken his back, had loss of vision in his right eye, and suffered hearing losses in both ears.
1SG Leonard enjoys, many sports including; swimming, walking, running, and cycling. A NASCAR fan, he enjoys traveling to races and sporting events including baseball and football games. His interest in history was peaked while stationed in Europe between back-to-back deployments in 2003-2006. Time spent with family is important to both Mike and Cheryl. Their dog, Hogan is a constant companion who has never forgotten Mike, even after his long deployments and hospitalization.
When asked how his new Homes for Our Troops home will make a difference in his daily life, Mike shared the following thoughts; “My injuries were life changing events that left us unsure of my future and with many questions about where we would live and how I would be able to make a living and pay a mortgage. To have no mortgage payments and to be able to JUST LIVE and to try to be an inspiration to others is a huge burden lifted off of our shoulders. Living in an accessible home built to suit my specific needs will be amazing. This will enable me/us to focus on living and helping others…we can “pay it forward” and remember to never forget. Thank you for having such huge hearts…we are so lucky to have the support of others surrounding us.”