Helping a War Veteran Get His Life Back on Track
Mervin credits Easter Seals with helping him successfully reintegrate: “Easter Seals played a big part”
On July 5, 2004, during his second deployment in Iraq, Marine Cpl. Mervin Roxas was manning a machine gun atop a patrol vehicle when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded.
Three Marines died. Mervin, more fortunate, lost his left arm and shoulder, and his jaw and cheekbone were shattered. He spent 11 months at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., before being medically discharged — but his return home brought new challenges.
“I had trouble transitioning back to being a civilian,” he says. “I lost structure in my life, I didn’t know how each day would play out, and my behavior caused misunderstandings with family and friends.”
There was also the challenge of suddenly living with a disability.
“Learning to do things with only my right arm and getting stares and comments from strangers — I wasn’t used to it. That was tough.”
Forced to abandon dreams of becoming a police officer, Mervin enrolled in some college courses. One day on campus, he stumbled on a job fair where Easter Seals had a booth. By that evening, he had faxed his resume to Easter Seals and soon after, he was hired as a Life Skills Coach — teaching life skills to adults with developmental disabilities.
Finding a job spurred Mervin to keep moving forward. He has since run a marathon, earned his college degree and gotten married, plus he’s been promoted to an Easter Seals Program Assistant.
Mervin credits Easter Seals with helping him successfully reintegrate. “Easter Seals,” he says, “played a big part.”