SSG Dan Shannon*

SSG Dan Shannon*
U.S. Army
Colorado

* Home Grant Recipient

Dan grew up in a transient military family. He joined the Army in 1984 and the military is the only life he knew. He comes from many generations of military service dating back to the Revolutionary War. His father and uncle served in Vietnam and his grandfather received two Purple Heart awards during WWII. It was in his blood to serve his country.

Dan volunteered to serve in Iraq from his duty station in Camp Casey, Korea. He spent 23 years total service, 16 years active duty before he was medically retired in 2007. His injuries were the result of a gunshot wound to the head on November 13, 2004, in Ramadi, Iraq. He was the Senior Sniper of the “Ghost Recon” platoon-1/503rd 2nd Infantry Division. He served 9 years in sniper operations as a Scout.

Dan was in a bloody gunfight on the streets of Ramadi. He was critically injured while protecting his 21-year old sniper teammate during this firefight. Dan was shot in the head with an AK-47 round while situated on the top of a building overlooking and protecting his unit. He did not want to leave the gunfight, and after his medevac arrived, he insisted on climbing in the back of the Humvee on his own. Only 9 days after he was shot, he insisted on being discharged and was sent to outpatient recovery. He refused to sit still and would not stay in his bed! He felt his bed was needed by someone more critically injured than he.

His multiple injuries included a shattered skull, shattered face requiring braces just to keep his teeth intact, loss of his left eye, nerve/spinal damage in is neck that neurologically affects his limbs, a traumatic brain injury, severe PTSD, hearing loss, and significant damage to both shoulders. Despite these limitations, he found a way to help others by first giving up his own hospital bed.

He spent 3 years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and another 2 years at Hampton Virginia VAMC, and 1 year at Denver VAMC and Pueblo VAMC. Currently he is averaging 3 to 4 appointments a month at the Denver and Puebla facilities, which are 90 to 150 miles from their home.

Dan is married to Torrey who serves as a full time caretaker and volunteers her time to many veteran non-profit organizations. They have 3 boys. Dan and Torrey were divorced a few years prior to his injuries. Since then, Torrey has not left his side and they re-married on February 25, 2005. They had little resources, at the time, but knew their marriage and having the family together was more important than a ring or ceremony could represent.