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.”
- ABC6 News, July 14, 2019 A Massachusetts Veteran who was injured during the War in Afghanistan is getting a new home. Brandon Korona joined the army in 2010. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2013. Six months into his deployment, he was injured when a bomb hit the truck he was traveling in. Read more.
- News Radio WOOD, July 13, 2019 A handicap accessible home was donated to an Iraq war Veteran and his family Saturday in Middleville after years of struggling through a home that was not built to accommodate his needs. Read more.
- The Enterprise, July 8, 2019 After an IED explosion in Afghanistan led to the amputation of his leg four years later, Raynham native Sgt. Brandon Korona has received accolades from the community, including honors from the Boston Celtics and the Red Sox, for his service. Read more.
- Lowell Sun, July 5, 2019 When Brandon Korona regained consciousness after his truck struck a 200-pound improvised explosive device in Afghanistan, he saw the lower part of his left leg had twisted backward. The 28-year-old Dracut resident enlisted in the Army in 2010 and was serving as combat engineer with the 10th Mountain Division Special Troops Battalion when the accident happened in June 2013. Read more.
- Patriots, July 3, 2019 It looks like Patriots center David Andrews may have recently converted a Buffalo Bills fan during a surprise appearance at Gillette Stadium. U.S. Army Sergeant Brandon Korona, his wife Chelsea, and their dog, Ace, were visiting Gillette Stadium last Friday for an interview with WCVB News Center 5’s Dough Meehan to share Brandon’s story in advance of this year’s Harvard Pilgrim Finish at the 50 road races at Patriot Place and Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, July 3. Read more.
- WCVB Channel 5, July 1, 2019 The New England Patriots are pitching in to help build a home for a local Veteran and his family. Brandon Korona lost his left leg below the knee from an IED in Afghanistan. The group Homes For Our Troops is building Korona and his wife Chelsea a specially adapted home. Read more.