SGT PATRICK WICKENS
In 2003, Army Sergeant Patrick Wickens deployed to Iraq, assigned as a wheel vehicle mechanic with the 4-27 Field Artillery, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division. On May 14, 2004, he was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) during an ambush near Mahmudiyah, Iraq. He immediately lost his right leg above the knee and sustained shrapnel wounds and burns on his left leg. His medic and teammates are credited with applying tourniquets and rendering life-saving medical assistance, as both femoral arteries were severed in the blast.
After arriving in the United States a few days later, SGT Wickens endured weeks of surgeries and skin grafts at Walter Reed Medical Center. After repeated infections, doctors performed surgery to amputate his right leg at the hip.
Medically retired in January 2006, Patrick loves spending time with his wife Jenna and their son Gavin. He leads an active lifestyle by playing golf, kayaking, fishing, scuba diving, cycling, exercising, and traveling. In his spare time, Patrick volunteers with the nonprofit, The Mission Continues, building playgrounds and fixing bicycles in his community. He is also active with Fairways for Warriors, a nonprofit that provides golf equipment, instruction, and outings for injured Veterans and their families.
Although Patrick excels at activities on the green and in the water, he faces challenges within his own home. His wheelchair currently does not fit in several rooms. This environment requires Patrick to hop in and out of the shower and stand on his leg while doing laundry.
A mortgage-free, specially adapted Homes For Our Troops home with an accessible bathroom and wide doorways will eliminate Patrick’s challenges around the home. The home will also give Jenna independence, as she will not have to worry about his safety when he is home alone. “This home will be the biggest blessing my family has ever received,” Patrick says.
A safe living situation will give Patrick more time to focus on his future plans, which include going back to school. He and Jenna are also looking forward to having more children. They are expecting their second child in August 2017.
Originally from Montana, Patrick is choosing to build his home in Orlando, Fla., for the warm weather and to be close to family.
Patrick says he cannot thank HFOT’s donors, volunteers and supporters enough for making his home a reality. “My entire family will benefit from this amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity,” he says. “This HFOT home represents freedom from banks and a mortgage, so we can do some of the things we have wanted to do as family.”