SSgt Hans Blum

Redlands, CA

Mission Accomplished on Sept. 25, 2016

On Feb. 10, 2012 Marine Staff Sergeant Hans Blum and his team from the 2nd EOD Company were sent to conduct a Post Blast Analysis (PBA) in an area where a Marine was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Kajaki, Afghanistan. Upon completion of the mission, SSgt Blum was walking toward the designated safe area when he stepped on a secondary IED. The blast caused the traumatic amputations of both legs and damage to his left hand.

SSgt Blum underwent approximately 40 surgeries on upper and lower limbs during his two years at Walter Reed. He found inspiration from others with similar injuries while playing sled hockey for the USA Warriors and San Diego Ducks. This experience has led him to study recreational therapy. “I want people that find themselves in a similar situation as me to experience the benefits that come with playing this sport,” he says.

Though Hans wears his prosthetics during the day, he is in his wheelchair while he is at home. In his previous home he faced many challenges. The cabinets were too high for him to reach and the parking lot was 500 feet away. A routine task like bringing in groceries took him about four trips back and forth. Living in a home adapted to his needs not only eliminates the stress of dealing with these challenges, but also frees up time for studying and classes, he says.

Hans says he appreciates the kindness and thoughtfulness of the countless people who worked toward building him a better life with a specially adapted home, and wants them to know he does not consider this a freebie. “I am going to continue to work hard and hopefully one day will be able to give back in the same manner to someone in a similar situation as mine,” he says.