Posted on May 24th, 2015
Born in Arco, Idaho, and raised in Idaho and New Mexico (his family moved to Los Alamos when he was an
adolescent), First Lieutenant Micah Andersen has always enjoyed school, athletics and the outdoors. Growing up, Micah loved hiking, camping and shooting, and enjoyed being out in nature with his friends and family. He played rugby in high school and college, and is an avid reader with an inquisitive mind. He attended Boise State University, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in military science.
“Overcoming any obstacles in my life excites me,” says Micah. “From learning a new skill to relearning old ones, figuring out solutions to my own difficulties gives me a sense of accomplishment.”
Micah has had to figure out his own solution to one of the greatest difficulties any service member can experience—and that far too many have already experienced: the loss of both legs to an IED (improvised explosive device) explosion. Micah’s injury occurred June 1, 2013, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, six months into his second deployment (his first was to Iraq in 2005).
“I was a platoon leader with a variety of jobs and goals,” he explains. “We were on combat patrol with some Afghan National Police to familiarize them with the area and the local residents. After engaging with some local residents, we came under fire from three sides. I moved up to the cleared area to take up a position when I stepped on a pressure plate. I was thrown into the air and landed face-first a few meters away. One of my sergeants rendered first aid, and it was then they told me I had lost both my legs.”
Micah has had nearly 80 operations as a result of his injuries, and was kept in a medically induced coma for several weeks. He had to battle a life-threatening infection in addition to other injuries that included two ruptured eardrums and damage to his pelvis, colon, bladder and kidneys.
“When I first awoke from my coma, I found my wife, Linzi, by my side,” he recalls. “She had picked up everything, including our one-month-old son, and had moved to San Antonio to be by me. We faced a lot of challenges, but America’s Fund quickly stepped in and provided immeasurable support.”
America’s Fund helped Micah and Linzi in a variety of ways, including assistance with their mortgage payments while they rented a home in San Antonio, ramps for access, and specialized furniture that Micah could use without experiencing pain. One of the unique items America’s Fund was able to provide was a custom crib for their son, so Micah could independently care for him. America’s Fund also helped them with obtaining and modifying a new vehicle. As Micah recovered, an Action Trackchair was provided so he could continue to enjoy the great outdoors.
“Of all the organizations we’ve encountered, America’s Fund has gone far beyond what we expected,” he says. “They’ve been involved in so many aspects of our lives, we can’t imagine how we could have gotten this far without them. Any problem we encountered, they were there to assist us in any way possible. They’ve made our recovery possible while making us feel like we’re part of their family.”
As Micah continues his recovery he enjoys spending time with his young son, is considering attending law school and is uniquely modest when asked about what his experience and having lost both legs have taught him. “To me, it’s just my life, no different than anyone else. Very little has changed except [because of my prosthetics] my shoe size.”