SGT CHARLES DOUGLAS HARRIS
Mission Accomplished on Dec. 19, 2015
On May 30, 2012, Army Sergeant Charles “Doug” Harris was on patrol with 5-20 Infantry, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT), 2nd Infantry Division in Afghanistan clearing the route for another unit when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). The subsequent blast resulted in the amputation of both legs and severe injuries to his right arm.
Regaining consciousness after the initial explosion, SGT Harris recalls calling to his teammate nearby who was non-responsive. It wasn’t until he attempted to get up to help him that he realized he had lost both of his legs. The last thing he remembers after he was carried off the field and taken to the chopper was the medic helping him lift his arm so he could fist pump his buddies. Days later he arrived stateside at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, M.d., where he underwent surgeries and rehabilitative therapies for approximately seven months.
Although Doug has made tremendous progress with his recovery, his everyday living situation in his previous home was “very difficult.” He lived with his wife Autumn in her grandfather’s home, where maneuvering a wheelchair was not possible. A specially adapted home from Homes For Our Troops alleviated those worries and safety concerns. “Assistance from Homes For Our Troops greatly improved my well-being and my family life,” says Doug. “It allows me to do things like get something from the kitchen and laundry, without asking for help and feeling like a burden on my wife.”
An avid outdoorsman, Doug currently teaches hunter education in Maryland and works as a 911 emergency dispatcher for Hampshire County W.V. He has plans to pursue a degree in Wildlife Biology and would like to eventually work for a government agency to help manage the populations of wildlife. Locally, Charles is active with the VFW and American Legion; he’s also involved with several organizations that help injured Veterans return to outdoor activities. He married his wife, Autumn, in the spring of 2015. Since receiving their HFOT home, Doug and Autumn have become foster parents and they adopted four children. Doug has also started his own nonprofit called Operation Heroes Support, an organization that provides outdoor opportunities for injured Veterans and first responders.
Doug says he is grateful for Homes For Our Troops and its supporters for giving him the opportunity to rebuild his life, continue his education, and start a family. “It’s programs like Homes for Our Troops that give injured Veterans like myself a chance to be normal,” he says.