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John is a 24 year old Air Force airman who suffered a life changing spinal cord injury on July 5th, 2014 in a diving accident. He was in firefighting tech school in San Angelo and had a day off and went to the lake for some relaxation. He and his buddies were playing around on the beach and while trying to avoid hitting a child playing on the beach he jumped and tried to flip over him. He missed the child but landed on his neck and shattered his cervical spine (C-6), drowned and went into cardiac arrest. His firefighting buddies rescued him and saved his life. He was transported to a trauma facility where it was touch and go. He made it through all of this and is now in therapy at the Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta, GA. He is making slow but promising progress.

One of the intensive therapy programs available to John is a machine called the Lokomat. It is basically a robotic machine that helps a person walk again if there is any movement in the lower extremities. It has a 76% success rate of patients walking again. He started getting movement in his toes and started on this machine three weeks ago. It is recommended that he continue this for up to a year. This machine is not covered once his insurance time is up. This is his best chance to regain the ability to walk again.

Updates (24)

May 11, 2017

So the latest update is that John will be going to Chicago to compete in the Warrior Games representing the Air Force in shooting, track and field. These games can be seen on ESPN during June 30-July 9. He remains active duty and waits to be discharged to start the next chapter in his life. He continues to go to therapy and walks with walker and leg stimulation during these sessions. He has found ways to continue to do the things he loved. He is water board surfing, fishing and even dancing in his chair. The majority of the time is good but there are days that are not and the roller coaster is not a fun ride. With the support of our friends and the Air Force Wounded Warrior family we get thru those days and move forward. Thank you Help Hope Live for the continued support and resources to live life to the fullest.

November 4, 2016

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March 5, 2017

Hi John, so glad to see your perseverance and every picture is of you smiling. Your attitude and effort have inspired so many people and will continue to do so as you continue to conquer new goals. Keep up the hard work! Derek Ferland, Col, USAF (retired)

Derek Ferland

November 9, 2015

Dear John your story was one of the first person I read from ..The lords says to me always never give up ..I lost my baby cousin one year ago David Joe he was 25 he had been robbed by two younger men one of them shot him in his c5c6 ..Three men in a moment of seconds lost there lives ..He is an angel..Ive lost my lungs from a chemical leak diminishing lilxlil ..Im writing to you from my hospital room with a lil lung bug ..The lord always somewhere I hear never give up .He will restore your life and multiply it ..i got to go now I have a purpose to pray

Keith Williamson

September 29, 2015


It's been inspiring to follow your progress on social media. Your determination and perseverance are impressive are a great example for me.

I'm glad I had the opportunity to get to know you and play lacrosse together. You're the best goalie I ever played with, and maybe the best I ever played against. I still don't understand how you saved some of my shots during practices. Your enthusiasm for the game and energetic, bright demeanor made you a fun teammate.

Keep fighting the good fight, brother.