Marine Lance Corporal (Ret)
Not Taking Life Sitting Down
Marine Lance Corporal Alex Rodriguez is a man known for refusing to take life sitting down. After the events of September 11, 2001, Alex—who was then working for an air conditioning company—knew he had to do something to protect his family and his country from a similar occurrence. He joined the Marines, and his family recalls him saying, “I may be just one man; I may not be able to make a big difference, but I have to go out and do something!”
When a motor round sent shrapnel through Alex’s legs, causing massive nerve damage that still causes him daily pain more than a decade later, he refused to take that sitting down, either.
“That’s the type of person that he is,” says Sara, Alex’s wife. “He’s supposed to be in a wheelchair all the time—but he’s not. He uses a cane for as long as possible. No matter what happens, whatever new challenges come up, he keeps going.”
Sara has the same drive as her husband; she has become, as her kids describe her, “super mom,” taking care of Alex’s wounded legs while juggling the responsibilities of four children. Even the kids have played their part, saying that they had to grow up quickly, stepping up to help their parents with the house to relieve stress for both of them
Emotional Help from Impact A Hero
Unfortunately, Alex went through a period of depression and anger as he dealt with the “new normal” of constant pain and a loss of independence. Because he can no longer do many of the things he wanted to do for himself or with his children, he struggles with staying positive. Sara credits his first outing with Impact A Hero with breaking him out of his shell.
“He went to a Texans football game with Impact a Hero—and it impacted him in a huge way,” Sara says. “He had a shining on him. His smile started coming back.”
Since then, the entire family has become a part of the Impact A Hero family, and it has brought them closer together as a family and closer to other veterans who have provided a support system.
“Doing the 5K race has grown our family closer,” says daughter Isabel. “During the week, everyone is doing their own thing—work or school. It’s great that we can do something together.”
Alex agrees, and he adds that staying involved with other veterans year-round has made a huge difference in his life.
“I can’t thank you enough for giving me happiness,” he says. “It might be for just one day, but that’s one day that I didn’t worry about pain. That’s what Impact A Hero has done for me.”