In 2010 Gary, formerly of the 1st Battalion The Scots Guards, deployed on his second tour of Afghanistan – it was his fourteenth year of service in the British Army. Whilst on an afternoon patrol, Gary’s platoon unknowingly entered an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) field. One of the devices detonated and Gary was left with catastrophic injuries. He lost both legs above the knee and his left arm above the elbow. The same IED killed the patrol commander.
Miraculously, Gary survived the explosion and was evacuated to safety. He was later reunited with his wife Claire and three children, Kyle, Nicole and 9 month old Taylan. However in order for Gary to be able to return to the family home in Lanarkshire, a significant number of home modifications were essential. The family were unable to stay there whilst the work was being done so The Soldiers’ Charity paid for the cost of a hotel nearby. This enabled them to remain close to home as a family, so the children’s school exams were not disrupted and Gary could receive the practical assistance he needed.
Once he was back home, Gary’s next focus was on mobility and autonomy so he could take care of all the little tasks that go along with being a husband and father. The Soldiers’ Charity therefore stepped in again and helped pay towards the adaptations needed to make his car accessible. He now drives almost every day and told us: ‘Being able to drive again was really important to me as it was a progression in my independence, going from the home, to the car, and onwards’.
‘Being able to drive again was really important to me as it was a progression in my independence.’
Most recently, in collaboration with other service charities we provided Gary with a hand bike, which has enabled him to exercise at home and build the upper body strength he needs for everyday tasks.
Gary has now been medically discharged, but says ‘You never know when you’ll need support. It could be you, or one of your muckers, but The Soldiers’ Charity is there, it’s had such a positive impact on my life’.
Gary is now running a pub in his local home area.