SSG (Ret.) Rene Fernandez, USA
SSG Rene Fernandez grew up in Richmond, TX as the youngest of ten children. He was an avid football player throughout his childhood, and graduated from Lamar Consolidated High School. Fernandez reported feeling a debt of gratitude to the country "that had given (him) and (his) family many blessings," and decided to join the US Army.
Fernandez led over three hundred combat missions for his task force from March 2003 until he was injured in April of 2004. While riding in a Humvee, an improvised explosive device detonated and struck Rene with 95% of the blast. Shrapnel tore into his armor, broke his arm, and damaged his face. Fernandez was resuscitated three times before going into a coma that left him with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). In addition to short term memory loss and chronic headaches, Rene contends with paralysis on the right side of his body and post-traumatic stress.
Rene has slowly regained his independence by once again learning to walk and speak. He lives with his wife and full-time caregiver, Jamie, and their five children in their Helping A Hero home. Fernandez hopes to someday get a degree in Education.