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Bobby Lisek with his wife and daughterSergeant Bobby Lisek recalls very little about Sept. 11, 2004, the day in Iraq’s notorious Sadr City that changed his life.

“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.”

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