Meet our sixth Hero, Army SFC. Ofren Arrechaga. Sgt. Arrechaga married Seana Minikhiem on September 1, 2007 and shortly thereafter deployed to Iraq for the third time. When he returned home for R&R he and Seana welcomed the birth of their new son Alston into the world on March 28, 2008. Ofren then returned to [...]
Arnold, Missouri native Todd A. Nicely was 26 years old when his life changed forever on March 26, 2010 while participating in combat operations against Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. This young man was a Corporal in the Marine Corps, leading a squad of 12 infantry Marines with 1st Platoon, Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. As a Corporal, a non-commissioned officer of Marines, he was responsible for the training, welfare, deployment, and every aspect of the lives of his Marines, 1st Squad. At 26, he was called the “old man” of the squad because in addition to being the Squad Leader, he was also much older than the majority of young men in his squad, most were on their first combat tour (Nicely already had done a combat tour in Iraq back in 2008) and were 6-8 years younger.
While returning from a routine “security patrol” in the Taliban infested area of Afghanistan that his battalion found themselves stationed, the Squad was preparing to cross a bridge. Like the good Marine leader he is, Corporal Nicely, was “leading from the front” not just figuratively, but literally, he was walking point (he was at the very front of the squad). As he began to cross the bridge, he stepped on a pressure plate mine. The massive blast from the explosives blew him into the air. Nicely does not recall hearing any sound but does recall hitting the ground after the explosion. His first thought was “Aw God, What Happened?” As the realization of the enormous blast that he just endured and the massive injuries he suffered began to sink in, he had two thoughts. One was “just keep breathing so you can get back to your wife.” The second was, after letting out a few blood-curdling screams, he became concerned about the effect that his screaming might have on the Marines of his squad and so according to Todd he decided to just “shut up” and “stay strong.” Think about that and let it sink in for a minute. He had just endured an incredible explosive blast, suffered massive injuries and his two thoughts were about getting back to his wife and not frightening the Marines that he was responsible for by his screams. If that is not a hero, the word has no meaning.
Todd immediately had a realization that he had been blown up “pretty good” (his words), but he certainly did not realize that the blast had blown off all four of his limbs. On that fateful day in March, 2010, Corporal Todd A. Nicely, United States Marine Corps, became one of only 2 other modern day veterans that have endured battlefield injuries resulting in the loss of all 4 limbs (both legs and both arms) and survived. But when you meet this incredible young man, you will quickly understand why he had the ability to survive such an incredible challenge-he has an indomitable spirit, infectious enthusiasm, positive outlook, and a strength of mind and character that is second to none.
After being medivaced and returned to the United States, Nicely began his surgeries and treatments at Bethesda Naval Hospital near Washington DC. Since then he has been transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he continues treatment, therapy, surgeries, and learns to use his prosthetic legs and arms. His mother Julie Stanbrough is with him constantly. And the Joshua Chamberlain Society could not be more proud to announce that JCS will be with Corporal Nicely and his family from now on as well. Todd Nicely is our third JCS Hero and we are absolutely thrilled that he has agreed to become part of our JCS family.
Keep up with Todd
We have been trying for sometime to get Jeremy admitted to the wonderful VA nursing home in Clarksville which is only 20 minutes from his parents’ home. Thanks to our Tennessee Commissioner of Veterans Affairs, Many-Bears Grinder, Jeremy is now there and doing so well. It is a state of the art facility with all […]
JCS/Nashville would like to thank Home Lift for their due diligence and exceptional service in building and installing a custom curved stairway lift for our 5th Hero, CW3 Jeremy Miller. Due to severe breathing problems, CW3 Miller had extreme difficulty ascending his stairway in his home. In fact, his wife, Cindy had to literally push [...]
Phoenix Textiles employees raised money to adopt two JCS families for Christmas. Phoenix has been a frequent supporter of JCS and our local heroes. This past Christmas the employees "paid" to decorate a Christmas tree in the office. That money was used to purchase gifts for two families. Thank you Phoenix employees for your continued [...]
KF Landscape crews provided free labor to help local JCS Hero remove shrubs and ornamental grass from his yard. Thank KF for your support of our Heroes.
A benefit was held Saturday September 9 at the Arnold VFW Post 2593. With an attendance of more than 250, the mostly Cleveland High School alums, danced, took 50/50 and raffle chances and bid on Silent Auction items to raise money for the Joshua Chamberlain Society. Through the efforts of the SSGT Ron Bozikis Memorial [...]
Phoenix Textile Employees Do It Again! Local O'Fallon company Phoenix Textiles, thru it's employees, raised over $1,800 dollars to help purchase a trailer for JCS hero Michael Shuster. Michael has been renting a trailer every couple of weeks to haul his mower to his moms house to mow for her. He is hoping with this [...]
McCarthy Building Company's "Heart Hats" have been working at the family home of Sgt. Michael Shuster for the last week. This group of volunteers was comprised of IT Department workers from all over the country. The team helped in finishing the basement, fixing and painting walls, replacing light fixtures and fans, and various other "to [...]
Elks Lodge #9 Second Annual BBQ Contest On Saturday, May 20th, the Elks Lodge hosted its second annual BBQ contest to benefit JCS. JCS has been the benefactor of several fundraisers by this lodge. We are grateful for the support of the Veterans Committee, and the members of Lodge #9. Thank you for your commitment to [...]
A local St. Louis company, Patriot Sunrooms, stepped up in a big way to support a JCS Hero. On Saturday, employees of Patriot Sunrooms volunteered to install all new windows, storm doors, and gutter guards in Josh Eckhoffs house. They also power washed the home and planted flowers. The materials and labor were generously donated. […]