SPC Lucas Schmitz
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED ON DECEMBER 4, 2021
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, 136th Infantry, 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 allows 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. His previous home was not adapted to his injuries, which made relaxing and spending time with his family difficult. Simple maneuvers, like turning around in his wheelchair, were difficult in his home since there was not enough space. In an HFOT home with an open floor plan and wide doorways and hallways, Lucas is 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.
- KVLY-TV, Dec. 5, 2021 Lucas Schmitz and his family were celebrated by the Perham community on Saturday, as ‘Homes for Our Troops’ handed over the keys to their new home. Read more.
- Valley News Live, December 4, 2021 Veteran in Perham receives a new, adaptive home. Read More.
- Perham Focus, October 11, 2021 A ‘heart-lifting’ day: Perham volunteers landscape local veteran Lucas Schmitz’s new house, custom-built by Homes for Our Troops. Read more.
- Perham Focus, June 29, 2021 One Perham man enlisted to serve in the U.S. Army because he felt like it was an obligation he needed to fulfill. Read more.