Fernando Islas

Nineteen years old, I joined the military, the marine core, deployed to Iraq in 2007 to 2008. For someone like me that was constantly running, constantly playing basketball, really active, it took a toll on me...Definitely took a toll on me.

Got in this life-changing accident...I was heading Westbound on the main boulevard. This army truck, big vehicle, makes a left in front of me. I remember having a green light. I had the right of way. I T-boned the truck.

Next thing I know, I’m going into an ambulance. I remember telling the paramedics, “Hey, take me to the VA hospital. They’re going to take care of me.” The whole time I’m thinking bills and how much it’s going to cost. The paramedic obviously said, “we can’t take you to the VA hospital, cause you hit your head. So we have to take you to the nearest trauma center.”

I was there for ten days, I had a few surgeries and once discharged, come to find out, my bill’s at $60,000. And I remember in the hospital thinking, I’m going to recover on my own. You know, this is something that I have to deal with...Another bump on the road pretty much.

It was comforting to know that these guys had my back. Whenever I needed them, I was able to call them. I still have all three of their cell phone numbers. I know if I ever need them, they’re there for me. Raphael, Kevin, and Sean go above and beyond to make you feel comforted and make you feel like family. I think about why these guys are so good at what they do, why they’re at the point of their success at this moment, is because they’re people-persons. These guys are there for you. You have help, and they’re the ones to go to.