CAPT CAMERON WEST
Mission Accomplished on Dec. 12, 2015
On Oct. 15, 2010, Marine Captain Cameron West, serving with the Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, was returning to his platoon’s outpost in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province’s Sangin District after leading a hunt for Taliban insurgents when he received orders to check a compound where suspected Taliban fighters were congregating. Capt West was leading the platoon when a pressure plate improvised explosive device (IED) was triggered, causing a massive explosion. The blast resulted in the tragic death of the radio operator, James Boelk, and hurled Capt West into the air, taking his right leg and severely damaging the left. He also sustained damage to his right hand and lost the vision in his right eye.
After months of rehab and numerous surgeries, Capt West was able to greet his unit walking on his prosthetic when they returned to Camp Pendleton from deployment in April 2011.
In his previous home, there were steps at the front door, small door frames, slick floors and the shower was not accessible. The counter tops were too high for him to use in his wheelchair so he says basic activities turned into “a balancing act on one leg.”
A specially adapted home, with accessible entrances, open layout, lower counter tops and a safer shower eliminates these problems for Cameron. He and his wife Madison became parents to their first child, a baby girl, in December 2014 and have had two more children since receiving their Homes For Our Troops home in 2015. Since the home is adapted to Cameron’s injuries, he is able to spend more quality time with his family. “The new home makes the smaller things in life easier, so I can focus on the bigger things,” he says.
Cameron also says a specially adapted home cuts down the time it takes for him to get ready every day, giving him more time to spend outside the home and focusing on his future goals. He hopes to someday spend his time volunteering and teaching the youth of other Veterans. He and Madison would eventually like to open up a nonprofit camp for children of Veterans who have faced challenges like PTSD, injuries, and deployments. He is currently a member of HFOT’s Veteran Action and Advisory Team (VAAT).
Cameron is grateful to the donors and supporters for giving their time, energy and resources to Homes For Our Troops. “Without this program, it wouldn’t be an option for us to have a home that is completely accessible. This is not only a structure or a house, it is a home for Veterans and their families to rebuild their lives,” he says. “It is the beginning of not only a new chapter, but a new journey altogether.”