Fisher House Family, The Carpenters
The latest feature of Heart Behind the House highlights Corporal Kyle Carpenter, USMC. Kyle’s family spent time in two Fisher Houses after he was injured in Afghanistan. On June 19, 2014, Kyle became the youngest living recipient of the Medal of Honor, and was presented the award in a White House ceremony.
“I wanted to join something, a purpose, an idea bigger than myself,” explains Medal of Honor recipient, Corporal Kyle Carpenter, USMC. “I didn’t want to wake up and miss an opportunity to serve. I was trying to make a difference.”
Kyle entered the Marine Corps in 2009 and on Nov. 21, 2010, he was injured in the Marjah district of Helmand, Afghanistan, when he covered a grenade to save the life of a fellow service member. After his injury, Kyle started his journey to Bethesda, Maryland where he would receive initial treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
After spending seven weeks at Walter Reed, Kyle was discharged and sent to the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia for further treatment. The VA in Richmond is one of five level-one Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers in the country. Kyle would spend another seven weeks recovering in Richmond, while his family called Fisher House their home.
“We can’t say enough about the convenience and comfort the home away from home provided,” Kyle’s mother Robin said. “To be able to get a shower, wash clothes, have a meal and place to rest, was irreplaceable. And we could take good care of Kyle.”
Robin and Jim, Kyle’s father, were unfamiliar with the processes that went with having an injured child. They were pleased with the treatment Kyle received along the way, but being steps away from his hospital room made the recovery process much easier.
“You have so much going on and you need to be there to focus on upcoming surgeries and listen to Kyle’s multiple doctors. Being there was invaluable,” Robin continued. “If we had to go off base to a hotel, and then try to get on base for a 5 a.m. surgery or doctor’s appointment, it would have been so much harder.”
Jim echoed his wife’s sentiment. “It might be 10 p.m. when we needed to speak to Kyle’s doctors. You were on their time since they were helping others. But that’s what Fisher House enabled us to do. We could be there when they came by to talk. It helped so much to understand and get answers to our questions.”
Fully recovered, Kyle medically retired from the Marine Corps in July 2013. Both Kyle and his parents were comforted throughout his rehabilitation, knowing that Fisher House was there for them.
To read more of Kyle’s story, look for our fall issue of The Patriot magazine, out this October.