Now retired from the Marine Corps, Corporal Eric Lyons grew up in Novi, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. He played football and lacrosse in high school and was 20 when he enlisted in the Corps.
He served with the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines (the 2/9, known as Hell in a Helmet) based out of Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, and was an infantryman with Fox Company.
Eric’s first deployment was to Iraq in 2008. His second deployment was to the USS Wasp in the Caribbean in 2009. His third deployment would have been to Afghanistan; he never got there.
In April 2010, Eric was training with the 2/9 for his deployment to Afghanistan when he was injured in a training accident that resulted in a debilitating injury to one of his knees. Eric underwent surgery immediately at Fort Bragg and had multiple surgeries at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia. Six months after the incident, an infection in his leg required additional surgery.
“When I was in Portsmouth, the Semper Fi Fund would come by and they were always doing things for us,” Eric recalls. “After I got out, they continued to keep in touch. I heard about their bike grant program, and it sounded like a good way to get back on my feet—so to speak.”
Eric enjoyed running, but his knee injury now makes running impossible. The next best thing, he says, is biking. “The bike gives me the opportunity to exercise outdoors like I used to,” says Eric, who is also a member of Team Semper Fi.
Made up of more than 600 service members, Team Semper Fi is the heart and inspiration of our rehabilitative athletic program. “My busy school schedule has prevented me from riding with team Semper Fi lately, but I proudly wear your colors every time I ride,” says Eric. “I’d like to go on some long cycling trips; I’m slowly working my way up to more and more miles. My short-term right now is to do a 100-miler, and my long-term goal is to ride from Phoenix to San Diego. After that, who knows?”
Meanwhile, Eric is working on his bachelor’s degree in biotechnology and molecular biology. He’d like to apply the degree to working with biofuels, some sort of green technology or perhaps research.
“When you go through something like this, it helps knowing that someone does care,” Eric says. “Team Semper Fi and the Semper Fi Fund, having them help is great, and my dad was definitely a huge help; he helped me get through this.
“Life doesn’t stop just because something bad happens.”