July 4, 2021
Wounded Warriors Family Support presented U.S. Marine Sgt. Dustin Johns of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, with a 2021 Ford Explorer mobility-equipped vehicle as part of its Mobility is Freedom program during the KC Air Show on the Fourth of July.
A technician with the 2nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, Johns was clearing an area of explosive hazards in the Sangin Valley of Afghanistan when he stepped on an improvised explosive device on Nov. 12, 2011. This resulted in the traumatic amputation of both legs and two fingers on Johns’ right hand.
After doctors performed life-saving surgeries at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan, Johns was transported to Landstuhl, Germany, then flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. After just seven weeks of intensive therapies, Johns was ready for his first step on prosthetics.
Johns is pursuing a mechanical engineering degree. He also plans to obtain a master’s degree in prosthetics and orthotics.
Johns enjoys playing golf, disc golf, hiking, skiing, scuba diving, and spending time with his two children – Piper and William.
Wounded Warriors Family Support launched Mobility is Freedom in 2015 to provide modified Ford vehicles for combat-wounded veterans. The program aims to enhance the quality of life for combat-wounded veterans by providing freedom and independence in their everyday lives.
“Our belief is that given a properly equipped vehicle for their individual needs, combat-wounded veterans will have the freedom to live a productive and quality life with their family,” Wounded Warriors Family Support CEO and President Kate McCauley said. This year, Wounded Warriors Family Support plans to honor seven combat-wounded veterans with mobility-equipped vehicles.
Johns Ford Explorer will be equipped with custom hand controls which control throttle and braking. “It’s definitely easier with hand controls,” Johns said. “Trying to get around and navigate, especially, if I can’t wear my prosthetics or if I need to be in my chair for some reason, so having the hand controls is pretty important to me.”
KMBC News covered the presentation and you can view their video coverage here: Dustin Johns Interview at KC Airshow Vehicle Presentation
Wounded Warriors Family Support is an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide support to the families of those who have been wounded, injured, or killed during combat operations. This organization is run by combat veterans for combat veterans. Rated a four-star nonprofit by Charity Navigator, Wounded Warriors Family Support aids veterans and their families in healing the wounds that medicine cannot.