SPC Lucas Schmitz
Lucas Schmitz joined the military when the Iraq war began, because he felt it was an obligation he needed to fulfill. He joined the Minnesota Army National Guard as an Infantryman and deployed to Iraq with the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion of the 34th Infantry Division in 2005.
On July 25, 2006, Specialist Schmitz was on a patrol in Iraq when he stepped on a secondary improvised explosive device (IED) after his vehicle was struck by an initial explosion. SPC Schmitz lost his right leg and sustained damage to his right hand in the blast.
Once back in the United States, Lucas was treated at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio where he battled infection and severe anemia. His family and wife Tina, his high school sweetheart, never left his side throughout his entire recovery.
Now medically retired, Lucas and Tina are back living in their hometown of Perham, Minnesota. Lucas teaches at the local schools and Tina is a registered nurse at a nearby hospital. They are hoping to give their three children the same, positive upbringing they had. The financial stability of a specially adapted custom Homes For Our Troops home will allow Lucas to provide for his family. “My lesson in mortality has changed how I value life, and what is a priority for my family and me. My happiness is intertwined with my family. Securing a positive future for them makes me beyond happy,” he says.
At the end of the day, Lucas takes off his prosthetic and uses his wheelchair. However, his current home is not adapted to his injuries, which makes relaxing and spending time with his family difficult. Simple maneuvers, like turning around in his wheelchair, are difficult in his home since there is not enough space. In an HFOT home with an open floor plan and wide doorways and hallways, Lucas will be able to access every room easily, giving him more quality time for his family and other activities. He enjoys fishing and hunting, and hopes to get back to playing sled hockey again.
Lucas wants HFOT’s donors and supporters to know their help not only provides a safe home for injured Servicemembers, but the Veterans’ families and loved ones. “This home takes away my personal insecurities and allows me to focus on my family’s happiness,” he says.