Sgt Milan Franklin

Shelton, WA

Mission Accomplished on Jan. 5, 2019

Milan Franklin joined the Marines because he felt like he needed to do something to protect and defend his country.

On Oct. 15, 2011, during his second deployment with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, Marine Sergeant Franklin was returning from a night observation post when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) in Sangin, Afghanistan. The blast resulted in the loss of both his legs and two fingers on his right hand.

Sgt Franklin’s squad acted quickly to prep him to be evacuated, applying tourniquets and administering morphine. He was transferred from the battlefield to the hospital in under 20 minutes.

Once back in the United States, Milan was treated at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego and retired from the Marines in September 2013.

Milan received a service dog during his recovery, which got him interested in training service dogs. It also led him to meeting his wife, Delaree, who was also a dog trainer. The couple got engaged and married in 2018 on the land of what is now their specially adapted custom Homes For Our Troops home in Shelton, Wash.

Milan enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, hunting, and camping. He is also musically inclined – he grew up playing drums, and took up playing the guitar after his injury. Both Milan and Delaree have taken up drawing together.

Though Milan now spends much of his time helping others, he previously faced obstacles of his own. In the years following his injury, he dealt with living in inaccessible homes. Not having a bathroom or kitchen wide enough for his wheelchair made everyday tasks like brushing his teeth or cooking a challenge. It was not until Milan received his HFOT home in 2019 that he finally had a place where he could rest and recover comfortably. The wide doorways and roll in shower enables Milan to do everyday tasks easily, opening up more time to pursue his goals.

Since moving into their home, Milan and Delaree say they have plugged into the community and couldn’t be happier. In 2021, they became parents to a baby girl. Milan has been able to steadily pursue his career as a fine artist and is applying to one of the best art schools in the country; Delaree has returned to school as well.

Milan says he cannot find the words to express his gratitude toward HFOT’s donors, supporters, and volunteers. “It is truly incredible to come home after everything I’ve been through and see firsthand how much the United States as a country supports our Veterans,” he says. “Receiving this home means the world to me. I am finally able to breathe and feel at home.”

related articles:

  • PR Newswire, April 18, 2018 Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI), a third-generation, family-owned forest products company, is excited to be supporting a build project in Washington state for the national nonprofit organization Homes For Our Troops (HFOT). Read more.