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While we are still hearing and seeing fireworks in celebration of our Independence day, please join us in a special salute to ALL our WWA veterans, families, and friends of the Armed Forces. This month we are proud to showcase a WWA American hero, LJ Smoak. He bravely fought for our country in the war on terrorism. Last year, we were honored to have him as beneficiary at our golf tournament. In the spirit of Independence Day and celebrating our GREAT country, we want to share LJ's incredible story with you.
 
We thank you, LJ, for your bravery and sacrifice as a US Marine. Because of men and women like you, we can live in the land of the free.
 
Also we want to THANK YOU, dedicated and valued supporters of WWA. Our community is a made of many committed advocates for the millions of individuals living with paralysis. Every day YOU make a difference and we are incredibly proud that you are on this journey with us. Through your ongoing financial support and resources for those whose lives have been forever changed due to spinal cord injury. With your support, they are able to live fuller lives with medical and rehabilitation treatment.
 
Today you can make a difference in individuals and their families, like LJ, for $5 a month! Will you support American’s brave?
 
Thank you,
Micki & Anthony Purcell

Spotlight on
LJ Smoak

uS Veteran
Deployed 3 times

Age: 28
Hometown: Charleston, SC
Occupation: Electronics Technician
Hobbies: Sports, Beach, Camping

LJ's Story

In spring of 2006, L.J. Smoak was about to graduate from High school. At that time, the U.S. was heavily engaged in combat operations in Iraq & Afghanistan and the public was growing weary of the war in Iraq as media told the story of growing sectarian violence. In 2006, the Marines in Western Iraq’s Al Anbar province were taking some of the heaviest casualties since the beginning of the Global War on Terrorism. It was in the face of this that L.J. Smoak made a decision to enlist in the United States Marine Corps through the delayed entry program. LJ left for boot camp the summer after graduation.

From 2007-2010, L.J. served with Combat Logistics Battalion 8 stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC. In 2008 he deployed with them to Al Anbar Province Iraq where he was part of operations that significantly contributed to the stabilization of Western Iraq.

In 2009, after returning from Iraq, he was deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Until then, the Marine Corps had been focused primarily in Iraq. But in 2008-2009 the Marines were sent to clear, hold and rebuild the Taliban stronghold of Helmand Province in Southern Afghanistan. L.J., along with his fellow Marines conducted operations against the Taliban in a highly kinetic environment to the point where he earned a Combat Action Ribbon. Despite the austere and dangerous conditions L.J. returned home safely having contributed to the success of key operations against the Taliban.

In August of 2010, (then Corporal Smoak) was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps. He immediately obtained employment with a defense contractor where he continued to contribute to the country’s national defense. While working with this organization he spent a year back in Afghanistan and then 5 months in Romania. In early July of 2015, L.J. returned home from Romania and continued to work as a government contractor.

On Saturday, August 29, 2015 L.J. was enjoying a summer day back at home with friends on a boat in the Stono River in Charleston, SC. His friends were treading water and swimming near the bow of the boat and L.J. decided to join them & dove off of the stern into the water. Not aware of the sandbar behind the boat, L.J. hit head on and the impact broke his neck. Doctors reported L.J. should not have survived the accident. The severe injury paralyzed him from the neck down.

After reading about L.J.'s story Micki reached out to him on behalf of The Walking With Anthony Foundation. This led to L.J. becoming the beneficiary of our 6th Annual Charity Celebrity Golf Tournament & Dinner in 2018, where he was granted $10,000 to help with recovery costs.

In 2009, after returning from Iraq, he was deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Until then, the Marine Corps had been focused primarily in Iraq. But in 2008-2009 the Marines were sent to clear, hold and rebuild the Taliban stronghold of Helmand Province in Southern Afghanistan. L.J., along with his fellow Marines conducted operations against the Taliban in a highly kinetic environment to the point where he earned a Combat Action Ribbon. Despite the austere and dangerous conditions L.J. returned home safely having contributed to the success of key operations against the Taliban.

In August of 2010, (then Corporal Smoak) was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps. He immediately obtained employment with a defense contractor where he continued to contribute to the country’s national defense. While working with this organization he spent a year back in Afghanistan and then 5 months in Romania. In early July of 2015, L.J. returned home from Romania and continued to work as a government contractor.

On Saturday, August 29, 2015 L.J. was enjoying a summer day back at home with friends on a boat in the Stono River in Charleston, SC. His friends were treading water and swimming near the bow of the boat and L.J. decided to join them & dove off of the stern into the water. Not aware of the sandbar behind the boat, L.J. hit head on and the impact broke his neck. Doctors reported L.J. should not have survived the accident. The severe injury paralyzed him from the neck down.

After reading about L.J.'s story Micki reached out to him on behalf of The Walking With Anthony Foundation. This led to L.J. becoming the beneficiary of our 6th Annual Charity Celebrity Golf Tournament & Dinner in 2018, where he was granted $10,000 to help with recovery costs.

Life can change at any second.

 
For as little as $5 a month, you can pledge to support,
and make a difference in individuals & families like L.J.
 

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