Posted on November 3, 2015
Born in Milwaukee and raised in Greenville, Michigan, Cory Muzzy was a typical American kid. He loved football, video games and NASCAR.
And he loved his country. So on August 7, 2007, he enlisted in the Army—“I wanted to do something with my life and help people”—and deployed twice, to Iraq in 2008 and to Afghanistan in 2010, spending about a year in each location. As a cannon crew member, his typical day was spent maintaining trucks, guns, and the battery area.
On February 21, 2014, Cory’s life would be forever changed. He was one of seven members of the 18th Fires Brigade’s 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment who were injured while working with a 155mm towed howitzer. One fellow crew member, Pfc. James Groth, was killed in the accident.
“The last thing I really remember is we got stuck traveling to a firing point,” Cory recalls, “and when we got there, we got breakfast and then left for another firing point. Then I was ramming a round and waking up in the hospital. Everything else I know is from my brothers in arms and my family.”
Cory’s right forearm was shattered and his right leg needed to be amputated above the knee. Surgeons took muscle and skin from his left thigh to try and save his left foot, but later amputated his left leg below the knee. His C5-C7 vertebrae (an area of the spine near the shoulders and neck) were fused together.
Cory underwent about 40 surgical procedures, including many eye surgeries. “I went from blackout-blind to low vision using special tools and equipment to help.”Today, he spends five days a week in physical, occupational, and recreational therapy.
“America’s Fund helps us pay our mortgage every month so we can afford to rent an apartment while I’m here in Texas getting better,” Cory says. “They also bought us
furniture and a new bed, helped us remodel our house, and brought in my family to care for me while they sent my wife, Michelle, to one of their retreats.”
“To say they have been life savers is an understatement,” he continues. “There’s no way we could have made it through everything without their help. It makes such a huge difference and relieves so much stress. We will forever be appreciative to this wonderful organization and all they do.”
For all the injuries he’s suffered, Cory says that the loss of sight has been the toughest part of his journey so far.
“Being blind has been my biggest hurdle and adjustment,” he says, “having to trust the process and the people around me, and learning to trust my prosthetics to do their jobs.”
When asked about looking ahead to the future, Cory laughs—“When I can see, I’ll let you know!”—but quickly gets serious.
“I think my time will be spent volunteering at local hospitals and other similar facilities as a peer mentor,”he says. “Visiting patients, giving them hope for their futures after unfortunate accidents. My wife and I want to turn one of our dogs into a therapy dog and be a team: I’ll cover the injured, she’ll cover the families and our dog ReRe will be their comfort.”
“We think there needs to be more help and discussion about intimacy issues in general after accidents like this,” he continues. “We’ve found many other couples who suffer with nowhere to turn. Caregivers are often forgotten or burned out—but America’s Fund does a great job of having monthly dinners and retreats every now and then for them, which is fantastic.”
Cory’s next step? School.
“I’m excited to be attending blind school next month,” he said. “I’ll become completely independent, for the most part. Not having to have my wife roll me or guide me everywhere will be a huge life-changer.”
Throughout his experience, Cory has come to realize that “there are a lot of good people out there who band together in your time of need. I learned to appreciate my wife and all she does for me a lot more, as well as my family. I learned to not take things for granted.”
“It’s important to stay determined and motivated,” he adds, “because nothing is so bad that you can’t overcome it. And if you’re really wanting to donate to an organization that truly helps our wounded and puts their money where their mouth is, America’s Fund is it. They’ve been the most helpful from the get go.”