Sgt preston kaplan
EL LAGO, TX
Always having a desire to serve in the military, Preston Kaplan joined the Army as an Infantryman right after high school. He deployed to Iraq twice, first in 2005 and again in 2007.
On April 28, 2008, during his second deployment, Sergeant Kaplan was on a mounted mission with 1-502d Inf, 2nd Brigade, 101st Air Assault Division, when an explosively formed projectile (EFP) struck his vehicle. The blast resulted in severe damage to his right leg.
Preston underwent almost 60 surgeries within 18 months trying to salvage his right leg before making the decision to have it amputated. He acknowledges his recovery was still challenging after the amputation, but Preston was determined to persevere and motivated to improve. By 2011, he was able to walk again on a prosthetic. Preston does quite a bit more than walking now – he runs, scuba dives, skydives, golfs, fishes, and hunts. “I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but I’ll never give up and stop going because of my injury,” he says.
Though Preston has returned to doing the activities he loves in the sky and on land, his current home still remains a battleground. His wheelchair does not fit in his current home, which prevents him from performing simple tasks like pouring himself a glass of water. Receiving a specially adapted Homes For Our Troops home with an open floorplan and accessible kitchen with pull down shelves and roll under sinks will alleviate these issues.
The new home will also be beneficial for Preston’s future plans with his wife Nicole, a former Non-Commissioned Officer in the Army. The financial freedom of an HFOT home will allow them to focus on raising their new family. Preston and Nicole welcomed their first child, Eliana, in April 2018.
Preston has returned to school to finish his degree in process technology, and plans to work in the oil industry. He also enjoys volunteering in his community and supporting fellow Veterans. He recently became involved with Mighty Oaks, a faith-based organization that supports Veterans. An active member of his church community, Preston helps provide meals to the homeless through the Jesus Hope & Love Mission. Additionally, he has shared his story at fundraisers for Disabled Sports USA and War Fighter Sports.
Preston and Nicole say HFOT is a blessing and they are incredibly grateful to the organization’s donors and supporters. “Homes For Our Troops is a game-changer. We feel so fortunate to have this opportunity,” he says. “It is your gracious donations and support that allow us wounded Veterans to regain ourselves and continue to become providers for our families.”