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Wounded Sisters veteran gives, gets help

By Wanda Moore
Published On: Feb 18 2014 03:29:56 AM CST

NewsChannel 21's Wanda Moore talks with a disabled veteran in Sisters who has helped many others struggling back home- and now is getting much-needed help himself.

SISTERS, Ore. -

A helping hand can go a long way, especially in the veteran community. And it can come back to help one's self, in unexpected ways.

Disabled veteran Brett Miller of Sisters is getting a huge gift, as a non-profit group has offered to fix up his old Jeep.

Brett Miller returned home from Iraq in 2005, after he was hit by a roadside bomb.
He spent two years in the hospital and three more years in treatment.

"I got a severe traumatic brain injury," Miller said. "And I'm now hemiplegic,, which is half-paralyzed."

Miller had to slowly learn how to do everything again. But some things would just never be the same.

"You come back to a world that is no longer your own," Miller said. "You don't have the social structure, you don't have the family support that you used to."

He found strength and purpose in the outdoors. The avid outdoorsman loves hunting and fishing, but his Jeep -- or as he calls it, "the heap" -- barely gets him around any more.

"A deer hit the side, and the engine literally leaks more oil than it burns gas," Miller explained while rolling down the window to open the door.

Due to the massive dent in the door, he has to leave the window down to open the door. Not ideal, especially when it rains or snows.

The most difficult time for Miller was when he realized he could no longer perform his job as a firefighter.

"I could no longer have someone's life in my hand," said Miller, who realized that he wanted to be a firefighter when his family home burned down when he was 14 years old.

The time after returning from Iraq was difficult, but his new family -- the veterans -- were there for him.

"I would literally be dead or in prison if it wasn't for the Wounded Warrior Project," Miller said.

He joined the organization after returning from the battlefield, and started reaching out to other veterans.

Now, he's being offered help himself.

The non-profit organization Freedom Wheelers heard about Miller and wanted to help him out.

Freedom Wheelers, led by Jonathan Lineberger, is himself a disabled veteran, is helping veterans by upgrading their rides.

The project is a way for Lineberger to heal himself by helping others.

"I was in a point in my life where being disabled I had nothing to focus on," Lineberger said in a Skype interview. "I had no new mission. So I was ready to check out. This is my way to make sure that my fellow vets are not being left behind."

The veteran community remains family that helps each other through tough times.

"It is like the symbol from the Wounded Warrior Project," Miller explained while pointing at the image. "You start out as the warrior on top. After a while, you become the warrior on the bottom, unknowingly -- helping out your peers and helping out others."

If you want to help the project off the ground you can check the Facebook page of Freedom Wheelers. Donations will go towards this and future builds.

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