Sergeant Bobby Lisek recalls very
little about Sept. 11, 2004, the day in Iraq’s notorious Sadr City that changed his
“I got blown up, that’s all I really remember. And that it was my best friend James’
birthday. He was in the school we’d taken over from the insurgents. I told him I
had to go. I said happy birthday and I could tell by the look on his face that he
knew I wasn’t coming back,” recalls the medically retired Army infantryman.
Lisek and his fellow soldiers were in the back of a Bradley fighting vehicle when
an improvised landmine was detonated. “The ramp wouldn’t come down in the back of
the vehicle. They were shooting at us as it burned. My fellow soldiers saved my
life that day,” says Bobby.
The explosion that destroyed the vehicle, buckling the floors and splitting through
armor-grade steel, cost Lisek his left leg above the knee. His face was broken in
six places, and his sinuses were severely damaged. Most critically, he’d suffered
one of the most common injuries of the war, brain trauma. As he and others lay injured,
his fellow troops set up a defense against an enemy ambush.
Bobby’s’ family met him in Germany when he was still barely clinging to life. His
parents put their lives on hold and nearly faced financial ruin to be with their
severely injured son through his recovery. His survival, he believed, and the sacrifices
his fellow soldiers and family made on his behalf would mean little if he couldn’t
find a way to truly live again.
It was while recovering from his injuries that Bobby met Mary, who later became
his wife. She was a dental technician on the reconstructive team that was putting
his face back together again. After months of asking, she agreed to date him. They
fell in love, married and started their family with daughter Gracie Leigh.
Bobby is committed to his recovery and his wife and daughter. He refuses pain medication
for fear of becoming addicted and struggles daily to overcome the challenges his
wounds have caused and to make the most of the life that was saved by his fellow
soldiers on that September day in 2004.
While the severe nature of Bobby’s injuries have taken him out of the fight, he
still takes up for his fellow soldiers and their families whenever possible.
“There is a world of unanswered needs for people who were injured in Iraq, Afghanistan
and past wars and for their families who are the unsung heroes who pay the prices
for these wars,” Bobby says. “We owe it to the people sacrificing in these wars
to do everything we can for our veterans and their families.”
That’s why Bobby stands behind the DAV Charitable Service
Trust. By giving through workplace campaigns including the Combined Federal Campaign,
donors are able to support a variety of programs that help veterans like Bobby receive
adaptive care, transition assistance, and services for spouses and family care providers.
DAV Charitable Service Trust grants help to provide a wide range of services
and research to improve care for veterans suffering from physical and psychological
trauma related to their wartime service. The Trust provides needed funding for initiatives
that support veterans with traumatic brain injuries and forms a safety net for veterans
who might otherwise fall through the cracks.
Initiatives to help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, rehabilitative
therapy, family assistance, prosthetics research and a wide array of services and
programs are supported through the Trust. The programs aid wounded warriors who
are returning home and support the families of those living and departed. The Trust
provides a lifeline to veterans and their loved ones.
“I am doing better all the time. But I worry about the guys who are coming back
and hope people aren’t already forgetting about what they did for all of us,” says
Bobby. “Freedom really isn’t free. These men and women deserve our thanks. And when
people support the DAV Charitable Service Trust, they’re giving these guys and their
families the chance to make the most out of their lives.”