U.S. Marine Corporal Michael Jernigan
In 2004, serving in the war on terror, U.S. Marine Corporal Michael Jernigan of Company E 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment is first serviceman to lose his eyes and vision after being hit with 155 mm shells while on patrol, throwing him 20 meters from his Humvee. He suffered a head injury affecting 45 percent of his skull, with shrapnel entering one eye and exiting the other. Additionally, with a fractured patella and a damaged femoral artery, he had two fingers reconstructed, along with his left knee. Michael endured 30 complicated operations during more than a year in the hospital and rehab.
A Veteran of the year from his hometown of St. Petersburg, Michael co-founded Paws for Patriots at South Eastern Guide Dogs, which provides guide dogs and service animals to those who have served. In 2017, he received The Ross Perot Patriot Award for his service. Michael is the Vice President of the Blinded American Veterans Foundation, and a motivational speaker. He and his wife, KimberLee, recently relocated to Texas from Florida, where they actively volunteer to support Veterans.
A Carrington House for Michael and KimberLee is expected to be completed in 2021.