Marion, TX

Mission Accomplished on Sept. 11, 2010

Marine Cpl Jose “Ivan” Perez was left with multiple injuries after an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion in Fallujah, Iraq, on Feb. 27, 2007. Cpl Perez lost part of a finger on his left hand, and received a spinal cord injury leaving him with Paraplegic Cauda Equina Syndrome, requiring him to use a wheelchair most of the time.

While returning from a mission, Cpl Perez and his convoy stopped to take a head count. Upon having his finger shot off by a sniper, Cpl Perez mounted his machine gun and opened fire on the insurgent. Later, while being treated for his finger injury, Cpl Perez heard a gunshot before falling to the ground. Not knowing he was paralyzed, and losing a lot of blood, Ivan was transported to a local hospital.

Then airlifted to Germany, and in a coma, he was prepared for his evacuation to the States. Arriving in Bethesda, Cpl Perez would begin to learn of his injuries. After six weeks of treatment, he was transferred to Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas where he continued an additional 10 months of treatments and therapies.

Ivan is a talented musician who sings and plays many instruments. He also likes to fish and work with anything mechanical. An avid swimmer, he aspires to compete in the Paralympics one day. Presently enrolled in college, Ivan is working toward a degree in architectural design.

Cpl Perez is grateful to be living in a home that accommodates his wheelchair and gives him mobility. He appreciates everyone who helped make his accessible home become a reality. “Often times, people lose hope and think it’s the end of the world when they get hurt. People like HFOT’s donors and supporters help injured Veterans realize that there is always a way and there is always someone willing to help you find that way. Thank you.