AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – For most service members, it’s in their DNA to want to help and serve. So when something happens that changes their ability to do that, it can be extremely hard to deal with.
Many veterans come out of military service with injuries or service related health issues that they struggle with for the rest of their lives.
We met one inspiring woman who worked through a traumatic brain injury that she refused to let keep her down.
“I had a joy of helping people. Like I really had a joy and to know that I made a difference in someone’s life,” said Robin Young, an Army Veteran.
Robin spent 24 years in the Army and Army Reserves as a nurse. It was always her dream to serve people, until one day in 2012, when she became the one who needed help.
“I was not feeling well. And my husband kept getting on to me, because I would call him. He said ‘You need to go to the hospital.” I said, ‘I will. I will.’ But I kept putting it off,” she explained.
Robin had double pneumonia. That day, instead of going to the doctor, she stayed with a young soldier who was asking for help training for a physical test. During the workout, Robin had trouble breathing and collapsed.
“And she said they had to intubate me. Because after I passed out I started seizing…having seizures.”
Robin seemed to be recovering well but then collapsed again in the hospital a few days later. This time her brain went without oxygen for too long, and when she woke up, her life was forever changed.
“I didn’t remember anything. I didn’t remember my family. I didn’t remember my friends. I didn’t remember my husband. I didn’t remember anything,” Robin said.
She couldn’t walk or talk, and she couldn’t do simple things like feed or dress herself. Her husband Markey, told NewsChannel 6 that her amnesia hard on the whole family, especially her children.
“I could tell they didn’t want to go visit her because they didn’t want to see her like that. they didn’t know what to do,” Markey said.
Robin’s road to recovery included art therapy, and it’s something she still enjoys doing. She’s also recovered a few of her memories but had to get to know her family again.
Markey explained that he took it slow and followed her lead when it came to showing affection.
“I still remember when I first kissed her at the hospital, she was just giggling and laughing, because she thought it was so cute,” he laughed.
Markey said that Robin was a different woman after her accident, but one thing stayed the same. Her need to serve others.
“They would go give out their food to the veterans. They started serving the homeless. they started doing all these things. Again, anything that seemed to help people, seemed to help her.”
She didn’t want her disability to keep her from what she loved. She couldn’t be a nurse anymore so she got involved with several non-profits. She also started her own called “Sistah Soldiers United,” which brings women veterans together.
“I feel like God gave me another chance at life. And I’m here to do his work. I believe that’s why he kept me here, to do his work here on earth. I guess I’m one of his angels now,” Robin said.
Robin said she refused to give up and that is why she is living her life to the fullest.
“They told me I would probably be a vegetable if I lived. And look at me. Look at me. God is good.”
Robin said she looks forward to continuing to help people and is currently in the process of writing a book about her experience.
Photojournalist: Will Baker.