Marine Corps Sgt. Carlos Evans was looking for IEDs.
As the squad leader of a foot patrol, he and his unit were good at pinpointing and exterminating the deadly weapons. Evans was on his fourth deployment to the warzone, and he knew his job well.
But the enemy became increasingly cunning.
Insurgents planted bombs built with wooden parts instead of the easily detected metal versions. Evans stepped on one. He lost both his legs and his left hand in the blast.
Back in the United States, doctors worked to re-pair the damage. Evans lost track of the number of surgeries he underwent.
His wife, Rosemarie, hurried to his side at the hospital and left the couples’ two young daughters in North Carolina with friends. It was clear that Evans had months of recovery ahead. The family did not want to live apart.
Evans, his wife and young daughters, Nairoby and Genesis, moved into a hotel room near Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Evans was in a wheelchair. The space quickly became crowded and stressful.
Evans also worried about his family’s safety. It wasn’t right for his family to spend so much time alone, in a hotel, in a city they didn’t know, he said.
Operation Homefront provided the family with a safe home in which they could be comfortable. The Evans family now lives in a free, fully furnished apartment at Operation Homefront Village-Silver Spring.
Here, Evans has room to practice walking on his prosthetics. His youngest daughter is learning to walk, too.
Evans’ parents have been able to visit and help the family adjust. Evans said he finally knows his family is safe.
“We have that family environment back that we had at home,” Evans said. “We’re very, very, very grateful for Operation Homefront.”
In October 2011, Evans participated in his first Marine Corps Marathon as a hand cycle participant, finishing at 3:56:47.