A Broken Life, Mended Through Wounded Warrior Project, a Veteran Learns to Love Himself Again
rom a troubled childhood to the struggles of raising a young family, Army veteran Jesse Babson’s origins were far from idyllic. Though his was not an easy life, it was an existence he took in stride – until his Army career ended. Memories of his tumultuous deployment to Iraq mingled with the ghosts of his past, making him unable to acclimate to civilian life. Isolated and disillusioned, Jesse’s personal battle took him to his lowest point – and very nearly claimed his life. His downward spiral may well have continued, if not for a chance viewing of a Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) commercial on TV. A Rocky Start Born in Grand Rapids, Jesse was raised in the Michigan countryside. At the age of 7, he was sent to live with his father in Florida, where he grew up getting into trouble and spending time in and out of juvenile detention centers. Jesse’s troublemaking continued through his teen years, until his father sent him back to Michigan. Though he had expected his brother to pick him up at the bus station, no one showed. His first steps into adulthood were taken alone, and without a place to call home. 9/11, Following Duty At 18, Jesse had picked himself up from the uncertainty of homelessness in a new town by working a job in fast food. He had a little money in his pockets, and he had Lisa, his new girl. By September of 2001, his life had undergone a few changes. The 19-year-old had a job delivering furniture – and a girlfriend at home whose belly was big with their first child. On one particular delivery day, Jesse noticed that at every home he delivered to, families were glued to their televisions. “I went back to the warehouse and put the TV on, and that’s when I saw the towers fall,” Jesse said.
BY JOHN ROBERTS
His daughter was born eight days later, and Jesse began to feel the stirrings of a fighter ready to go into battle and defend his country. After his daughter’s first birthday, he went to his local Army recruiter’s office and announced he was ready to answer the call of his nation. After a few minutes discussing his background, he was turned away. Devastated, he left the recruiting station still a civilian, and he did not return for another year – this time as a young father of two. “I walked back into that same recruiter’s office, walked up to the recruiter and said ‘This is America. I want to join this Army, and I know that I can do it,’” Jesse said.
HOMELAND / February 2017