ARLINGTON, Va. — It's been 14 years since retired U.S. Army Sgt. Chris Schof was injured while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. But the impact the Army Recovery Care Program had on his life is something he still thinks about today — and for which he remains thankful.
Schof continues to serve his country as a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager. He still lives near the Soldier Recovery Unit at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state that helped him get back into life all those years ago.
Schof was just 21 years old when he was injured while serving in the infantry in Iraq in 2007. After taking a piece of shrapnel that severed a nerve in his arm, he suddenly found himself with no degree and no job lined up — all while having a wife with a baby on the way.
Fortunately, the SRU at JBLM was there to help him figure things out. Today, Schof still remembers the miracle the SRU was able to work, finding him a job with a contracting company.
"Because I didn't have a degree I got blown off a lot," Schof said. "[The SRU] helped me find a good job with a contracting company [almost immediately], which was amazing because my wife was eight months pregnant at the time."
Schof provided for his family while making plans to get a Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. He spent five years with the contracting company before obtaining his degree. Today, Schof still works in the contracting field and got involved with USACE last year, managing construction projects.
"It's been a great job so far," he said. "Everyone's been really awesome."
He still drops by to see the SRU. Several upgrades have been made to the facilities since he was there, and he was pleasantly surprised to see how the building looks today.
Schof encourages wounded, ill and injured Soldiers to take their time and try to explore SRU opportunities and services. He noted that when he was injured, he was very young and didn't have much experience. He advises Soldiers to take advantage of the downtime to explore what they want to do next.