Army Staff Sergeant Jason Gibson enjoys cycling – he’s ridden in marathons in Los Angeles and San Diego. He also enjoys snow skiing and golf and is looking into getting his pilot’s license.

Oh, and one more thing: Jason lost both his legs in Afghanistan.

This determined and inspirational service member was born June 1, 1986 in Westerville, Ohio, a town of about 36,000 located smack in the middle of the Buckeye State. He has one sibling, a younger sister named Kristen.

After graduating from Westerville South High School, Jason went on to Ohio State University, where he enrolled in Air Force ROTC.

After one year at Ohio State, Jason decided to devote himself to full-time service: He joined the Army on September 1, 2005, and distinguished himself as a combat engineer.

Jason Gibson Army formation
Jason Gibson in his wheelchair
Jason Gibson on a handcycle

Jason’s first deployment – to Mosul, Iraq – began in 2006 and lasted 15 months. His second deployment—for one year to Baqubah, Iraq—began in July 2009 with what must have been some very difficult emotions: About six months earlier, Jason met the love of his life, Kara. They were married on June 30, 2009—just days before he shipped out.

Jason’s third deployment brought about a change of scenery: He left for Afghanistan in March 2012. On May 30, 2012, he was on foot patrol and stepped on a pressure plate that triggered an improvised explosive device. The blast claimed both his legs at the hip and inflicted a deep wound on his right forearm.

Jason was transferred out of theater to Germany, and was subsequently flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland for inpatient care. A few months later he transferred to the Navy Medical Center San Diego where he began outpatient therapy.

America’s Fund provided family support grants that enabled Jason’s wife and mother to remain at bedside after the initial injuries. We also provided an iPad, a truck bed cover to protect the lift he has to get in and out of the truck, funds to cover truck payments and a transition grant to assist Jason and Kara with bills while he was waiting for his disability pay to start.

Kara has been by Jason’s side every step of the way and has played a significant part in her husband’s recovery. She gets him to his medical appointments and therapy sessions on time, helps care for him daily and keeps their home running smoothly.

Jason is now medically retired from the military. He enjoys handcycling and snow skiing, and is part of Team America’s Fund, our rehabilitative athletic program that supports recovery through sport.

“I’ve biked the Los Angeles and San Diego marathons both in about 2 hours,” Jason says. “I’ve been learning to golf, too—it’s somewhat difficult from the wheelchair, but I’m still able to do it.” He’s also looking into getting his pilot’s license. No wonder so many look to Jason as an inspiration.