Walking The Path
“God was preparing me for twenty two and a half years to do this work that I am doing now.” Those words were spoken by Colonel (retired) Scott Curtis Johnson, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. The “work” that he was referring to was that of being an advocate for other wounded veterans trying to process through the system and receive the benefits that they so strongly deserve.
Scott knows firsthand the problems and delays a veteran can experience returning, wounded, from serving overseas. He began his Army career at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. He then served two tours of duty in Iraq in 2003-2004 and one fifteen month tour in Kosovo in 2006-2007. While in Iraq, Scott served as a Battalion Commander over 650 men in Anwar province. One of his proudest accomplishments was that each of those 650 men returned home safely.
The first sign that something might be terribly wrong was an overall loss of body strength that began in 2008 while serving as Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army Engineers School in Ft. Leonard Wood. This was soon followed by a fifty percent loss of dexterity in his left hand. A few short months later, he was confined to a wheel chair. In November of 2008, Scott was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Although the doctors couldn’t pinpoint the direct cause of the disease, it was determined that it was service related.
It took from November of 2008 until July of 2010 to process Scott’s medical discharge. During this time, Scott could not be seen at a V.A. hospital or receive Medicare benefits because of his active duty status. To make matters worse, Tri-Care, insurance for military personnel, would not pay for much-needed renovations to his home such as hand rails to assist with walking and raised toilet seats.
Today, Scott’s passion is to advocate for other wounded veterans and to prevent them having to go through his nightmare. He also wants to play soccer with his two sons, Conner and David. Joy, a black lab who chose Scott, will extend his ability to fulfill his dream of easing the transition for other wounded veterans. Joy was trained by Patriot PAWS in Rockwall, Texas.