The following is from a former Combat Controller/teammate of mine Johnnie Yellock. Johnnie and I have known each other over the course of 6 years in a job that was equally demanding and just as fun to do. Johnnie was on his 2nd deployment to Afghanistan when his vehicle was rocked by an IED which shattered both of his legs. After applying tourniquets to his legs and assisting his teammates with his injuries, Johnnie was then medically evacuated. Even though Johnnie was well-known and admired before that time it was this moment where his life truly changed forever.
Johnnie maintains an active lifestyle as we still skydive, enjoy going to the range and play TopGolf; however, his favorite activity is dancing and he will dance just about anywhere as long as there is a beat. Seriously, the man has got some moves. All-in-all Johnnie is a complete badass and I couldn’t be more proud to call him a friend. This should go to show that no matter how dire you think your situation is you can always make in an impact.
From Johnnie…“Our lives can change in an instant. The loss of a loved one, accepting a new job, the diagnosis of a terminal illness or something as simple as a RAK all have the power to forever change our lives. I’ve transitioned from what some call the “Tip of the Spear”, to a life that’s anything but normal through an incredibly humbling road to recovery. As my stretcher was loaded onto the helicopter, I had already accepted the fact that things would be different. Over the next 3 months and for the first time since childhood, I was completely dependent on others for even the simplest of tasks. Progress was quick but didn’t come easily as I’ve undergone 28 surgeries to date with more to come. July 6 2014 marked three years since that negative instant began to positively impact my life. The following photos depict my journey from the military and beyond as I’ve traveled from CA to PA and Canada to the Bahamas living it up everywhere I go but the people I’ve met and relationships I’ve built have been more beautiful than any view. Think of all the people who have been instrumental in your life and make the time to show them gratitude…It only takes an instant.”
Two and a half years of surgeries and rehabilitation seemed to fly-by as countless individuals aided him in this journey. Johnnie has since been medically retired from the military and completed his final freefall jump as a culmination to his military career. Even though that may have been the end to his official military service he still remains actively engaged with the service. ‘YK’ has participated in numerous events representing Wounded Warriors to include the Warrior Games and the Warrior Open sponsored by George Bush. Additionally, Johnnie has raised money for fallen comrades, started businesses along the way and currently works for a non-profit organization that builds adaptive homes for disabled veterans.