SPC Steven Baskis
On May 13, 2008, Army Specialist Steven Baskis, an Infantryman, was on a patrol as part of the personal security detachment for division leadership with Delta Company, Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division in Baghdad, Iraq, when an explosively formed penetrator (EFP) detonated next to his vehicle. The blast resulted in the complete loss of his vision, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and nerve damage to his left arm. The explosion also killed his teammate and friend, Staff Sergeant Victor Cota, who was sitting next to him in the vehicle.
Steven has not let his injuries prevent him from living life to the fullest. He spends much of his time outdoors – mountaineering, skiing, cycling and kayaking. He also plays the drums, guitar and other instruments. He is highly involved with the Blind Endeavors Foundation, an organization he started. “Blindness is a lifelong challenge. Stare into the darkness and you will never find your way, but if you explore through the darkness, you’re bound to stumble upon a great adventure,” he says.
Although Steven has conquered climbing some of the highest mountains in the country, living in a home without adaptations often poses even greater challenges. Since his injury, he has not been able to live alone and has moved several times with friends and family.
A home adapted to his needs will allow Steven to live independently. He will be able to answer the door safely by using an intercom system, and he will also have accessible appliances. The open floor plan and automatic doors will make it easier for him to navigate his way around the home.
Steven has aspirations to serve the country again in the 2018 Paralympics in the biathlon. A specially adapted home will provide him a foundation and stability, allowing him to focus on his sports training.
Originally from Illinois, Steven is choosing to build his home in Colorado to be close to the mountains, which he can climb more frequently.
Steven says after war and going through a traumatic experience, he can sometimes feel lost but organizations like HFOT provide him with hope. “This organization and its faithful donors change lives every year. It is because of you I can enjoy life more completely. A home is a foundation and corner stone from which dreams and adventures can spring,” he says.