PO1 Ryan Sykes
Grass Valley, CA
Ryan Sykes joined the military at 18, wanting to give back to his country and explore the world. He spent more than half of his military service on either training missions within the U.S. or deployments overseas.
On March 3, 2008, Navy Petty Officer First Class Ryan Sykes was on his fifth deployment to Afghanistan, serving as a special warfare analyst, when he sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other life-threatening injuries in Eastern Afghanistan. Lying unconscious in the darkness for more than five hours, a local security guard found him and alerted American troops. In addition to the traumatic brain injury, he also sustained a collapsed lung, facial fractures, soft tissue damage on his bicep, and pneumonia. Petty Officer Sykes was saved from further brain injury due to the freezing temperatures that limited the swelling of his brain.
Now medically retired, Ryan maintains an active lifestyle, and makes working out at the gym a priority despite his injuries, which include partial-paralysis on the left side of his body. He likes being outdoors, usually accompanied by his service dog Docker, and enjoys camping, biking, kayaking and swimming. Ryan now rides an upright trike and has placed first for the past several years in the USA Cycling Para-Cycling National Championships.
Though Ryan leads a busy lifestyle, he cannot do as much as he would like because his current home is not wheelchair accessible. His living situation makes it difficult to perform daily routine tasks. With a specially adapted home from Homes For Our Troops, he will be able to easily prepare meals in a kitchen with roll under countertops and pull down shelves. Additionally, he will be able to shower safely in an accessible bathroom. He looks forward to having accessible appliances, a functional kitchen, and complete wheelchair mobility, all of which he says will allow him to put his full strength and energy into trying to walk again, and further advance his cycling training for the US Paralympics.
With his newfound financial freedom of living mortgage-free, Ryan will be able to give back to his community through his Rotary Club, and provide a better quality of life for his son.
Ryan would like to thank those in advance who will support the building of his Homes For Our Troops home. “Thank you for this chance to start a new chapter in my life. This is an opportunity that I never dreamed of and one I shall never take for granted,” he says.