Army Sergeant Joel Tavera

Sgt. Tavera was deployed to Iraq in the autumn of 2007 at 19 years of age. In March of 2008, shortly before he was to return to the U.S., Joel was severely wounded when five rockets hit his Humvee. He lost his right leg and four fingers on his left hand, as well as the sight in both eyes. In addition, he suffered head trauma and fourth-degree burns to 60% of his body. This remarkable young man is determined to heal in spite of the obstacles he faces. He has been awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his service.