SGT Brandon Korona
With no future plans and working a job that was not going anywhere, Brandon Korona decided to enlist in the Army to serve a greater purpose.
In 2013, Sergeant Korona went on his first deployment to Afghanistan as a combat engineer with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. On June 23, 2013, he was on a route clearance mission with his unit when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Paktika Province, Afghanistan. The explosion knocked Brandon unconscious, breaking his right ankle and every bone below his left knee.
Brandon spent two years recovering at Walter Reed Medical Center before returning home to Massachusetts. After four years of pain and a low quality of life trying to keep his left leg, Brandon made the difficult decision to have doctors amputate his lower left leg. He opted for an experimental surgical procedure called an Ewing Amputation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He is the second person to undergo this amputation surgery, which gives him the ability to control a robotic prosthetic with his brain, enabling him to perform complex actions and feel sensations.
Now medically retired, Brandon has become quite the athlete. He plays football on the Wounded Warrior football team and is also training for the 2020 Boston Marathon. He works at BAE Systems as a supply chain planner and co-owns a business called The Dance Shoppe, LLC, with his wife, Chelsea, in Dracut, Mass. He is also currently pursuing a master’s degree in operation and project management at Southern New Hampshire University.
Though Brandon has made significant progress in his recovery, he still experiences obstacles within his home. He describes the split level home he shares with Chelsea as being “full of stairs,” which makes it impossible for him to use his wheelchair. It is especially frustrating for Brandon on days where he cannot wear his prosthetic due to skin irritations and limb soreness, and he is forced to use crutches to navigate throughout his home.
A new specially adapted custom home will give Brandon the opportunity to live his life comfortably. He is looking forward to being able to access all parts of the home without fear of falling, especially with special features like a roll in shower. Currently, he and Chelsea want to have children, but they feel their home is not safe for Brandon to care for an infant since he faces many risks himself. Brandon says an HFOT home will provide him with everything he needs, including the stable environment and peace of mind they need to raise a child.
Originally from Raynham, Mass., Brandon is choosing to build his HFOT home in the Merrimack Valley area of Massachusetts, where he has started a life with Chelsea.
Brandon feels there is no way to thank the HFOT donors and supporters for what they have done for his fellow brothers and sisters in arms. “I am so grateful for the support I have had past and present. I am living my life for more than just myself; I live my life with meaning.”