Army SGT Peter Damon was on his first deployment to Iraq when he lost both of his arms while performing routine maintenance on a helicopter. On October 21, 2003, while inflating a tire on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at Camp Anaconda in Balad, Iraq, the tire and the rim of the wheel blew apart; the force of the explosion traumatically amputated SGT Damon's left wrist, his right arm above the elbow, and knocked him unconscious. The tire’s rim hit and killed the soldier working beside SGT Damon. The next memory he had was realizing, upon waking from his coma, that he had no arms. His first thoughts were worries about how he was going to be able to work and provide for his family…would they end up being homeless?
After spending more than a year recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center he received a set of prosthetic arms and a set of hooks. SGT Damon chose to wear only one hook, attached to his left elbow, born right-handed, he taught himself to use his left as he no longer had an elbow to attach the hook to on the right arm. He remained at Walter Reed for ….before returning home to Massachusetts.
While a patient at Walter Reed, Peter was approached by John Gonsalves, a Massachusetts construction worker who was in the early stages of starting up a non-profit organization that built specially adapted homes for severely injured service members. SGT Damon would later become the organization’s first home recipient. The father of two children, Pete has found the ability to move about freely in his own home, not relying on his wife, Jenn and his children for tasks he can now do for himself thanks to his Homes for Our Troops home that was designed in such a way that he does not need to use his hands.
SGT Damon had always enjoyed painting and drawing and while still at the hospital, taught himself to use his hook prosthetic to pick up and use a pencil, practicing every night in his room. When he returned home, he started working in pastels. He later opened his own art gallery and continues to draw and paint, inspiring all who see his artwork. Often times donating original artwork to events and organizations that support veterans’ causes, SGT Damon has seen his artwork displayed at the US Capitol, the White House, and other prestigious locations across the country.
Pete would like to thank everyone for their support. The assistance from Homes for Our Troops has helped give him back his independence… he enjoys being able to be an active member of his family and of society.
Pete received the keys to his home on October 13, 2005.
Thank you to everyone who donated supplies, labor, and money to this project. Without people like you, none of this would've been possible!