A War Hero’s Story
Staff Sergeant Shaun Meadows was deployed in Afghanistan in 2008. While on a combat patrol, Shaun was riding on the back of a Humvee in the rear gunner spot. The team was bound for a mission that would take several days so they had to load up with a lot of ammo and supplies, most of which was under Shaun’s seat. His legs were draped over the back of the Humvee when the IED exploded under him and the bumper shot up and instantly took his legs off.
Free Fall Parachute Jump – First for Double above the Knee Amputee
But Meadows’ story is not one of loss, but rather, one of perseverance. After his injury, he was fitted for prosthetics, and with the spirit that his fellow airmen in the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron had long admired, he was walking and then running only a few months post injury.
When Meadows made the decision to retire from the Air Force, he wanted to jump one last time with his unit. “Lt. Col. Cannaday and General Wurster began working to make that happen for him,” his wife Nicole said. “And on June 14, 2010, Shaun became the first Air Force double above the knee amputee on active duty to complete a free fall parachute jump.”
Move to Lynnville
When the family began discussing options for the next chapter in their lives, wife Nicole said Shaun knew he wanted a tract of land in the country. After several flights from Washington D.C. to the Volunteer State, Shaun retired from the Air Force, and Shaun, Nicole and their six year old son Trevor moved to Tennessee.
“We love Lynnville,” Nicole Meadows said. “It is quiet, simple and absolutely gorgeous country. We can’t imagine living anywhere else now. Everyone in Lynnville has made us feel at home. Lynnville is the kind of place that you fall in love with at first sight and you never want to leave. For us it has always felt like home.”
The Announcement-Operation Finally Home
On September 2, 2011 Shaun made another free fall parachute jump with country music star Big Kenny, of Big & Rich fame, to kick off a concert to benefit wounded heroes and their families. Big Kenny, John Rich and Gretchen Wilson donated 100 percent of the proceeds from the concert to Operation Finally Home, an award winning program that provides custom made mortgage free homes to wounded and disabled veterans and the widows of the fallen in an effort to get their lives back on track.
That night, Shaun and his family were enjoying the concert when they were called to the stage. “It was like a dream,” Nicole said when they were presented with the Operation Finally Home award of a new, mortgage free home. “There was an overwhelming rush of feeling shocked and grateful. It warms your heart to have complete strangers reach out and do something so big – something that will completely change the rest of our lives.”
The Meadows family will officially break ground at the site of their new home on Veteran’s Day –11-11-11 at 10:00 am. “It is surreal to think we will break ground on Veteran’s Day and that day will forever serve as a reminder of how blessed we are that we can still be a family,” Nicole said.
Colonel will be giving the dedication prayer at the ground breaking and we will share pictures of the event in Part II of honoring our military heroes.
Story first reported by Tracy Ayers in the Pulaski Citizen