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Veterans and Brain Injury - Personal Stories
Marcus Kuboy entered the Army in 2005 to train as a medic. "I didn't want to go in there and shift the scales of the war one way or the other," he says, "But, just help out where I could. Be effective. I take a lot of pride in the country and there's kids going over there and getting hurt and there was a part of me that wanted to go in there and help them."
During a patrol outside of Fallujah, Kuboy's Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb. Kuboy's feet were shattered, his legs were mangled, his jaw broken and he was left unconscious with a mild to moderate brain injury.
"I was pretty intelligent before I got the brain injury and that intelligence is still present," Kuboy says, "but my processing speed has been slowed down." His short term memory has also been affected.
Kuboy receives therapy for his brain injury through the Minnesota VA, and he considers it his job to support organizations like the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance that provide for individuals who may not be aware of services that are available to Minnesotans.
I look at helping out organizations like this one – that are based in supporting people that are in situations like my own – as an opportunity for me to help people in a position to be helped.
Growing up on the family farm in Jackson, MN, Sam Jones lived for the outdoors, hunting and doing right by his country. Sam enlisted in the National Guard at the age of 17 and spent a year in Iraq. On his return to the States, undiagnosed PTSD led him down a self-destructive path that culminated in Sam being struck by a car late one night ending up with a traumatic brain injury and in a four month coma.
TBI affected his mobility, speech and memory but, with the support of his family, he continues to improve and gain further independence. Sam is one of this year's Walk Ambassadors as he wants to raise awareness about brain injury and the Association.
Robyn Alexander has been a part of the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance almost since its inception. In 1985, Robyn was was stationed at Edwards Air Force Base and was hit by a truck while driving her car. The traumatic brain injury she received from the accident affected her mobility, speech and memory. At the time, brain injury services in Minnesota were few and far between so her mother joined the board of the Association in order to advocate for better services. Robyn has proven herself to be a powerful advocate over the past 25 years. She has attended Disability Days at the Capitol, talked with legislators about brain injury services, volunteered for the phone bank and stood up for the rights of individuals with disabilities whenever she could. Robyn is a strong advocate and is excited about being a Walk Ambassador.
Paul Flick spent decades not understanding what had happened to him after Vietnam. The changes in his memory baffled him and in later years he tended to chalk it up to PTSD. Thankfully, a friend told Paul about the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance. Paul got in contact with the Association's Resource Facilitation program and realized he may have been living with a brain injury since his service in the Marines.
Flick has a BA in Studio Art and an MFA in Painting and Printmaking from the University of Minnesota. His art has been shown at galleries in Minnesota and throughout the world. He is a recipient of the 2007 VSA Arts of Minnesota Artist Recognition Grant, "Who's Who in American Art and American Artist of Renown." Paul is now one of this year's Walk Ambassadors.