by David Miller
Joshua Sust knew he needed to make a big life change when he found himself getting into the wrong crowd in high school. Motivated to serve his country after the 9/11 attacks, Josh enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as an Infantryman in hopes to better his future and make a difference.
On November 12, 2011, during his deployment to Musa Quala, Afghanistan with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, Cpl Sust was on patrol when his vehicle drove over a pressure plate improvised explosive device (IED). The blast ejected Josh out of the vehicle, resulting in severe damage to his left leg, left arm, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and hearing loss.
For over three years, doctors attempted limb salvage on his left leg. During that time, Josh endured constant pain and a decreased quality of life. In August 2015, he made the life-changing decision to have an amputation below his left knee.
Now medically retired, Joshua enjoys spending his days hunting and fishing. His time outdoors is a form of therapy and builds camaraderie with his friends. A huge Bengals football fan, he likes attending games whenever he can. He also motivates others with similar injuries as a member of the Amputee Coalition peer support effort.
Joshua posted the above photo on his FaceBook page this last November 12 and said:
Confucius once said “ You have two lives. The second one begins when you realize you only have one.” For me that realization was 9 years ago today. Also known as my Big Bang. A lot has happened since then. My biggest take away has just been to grow as a person. Try to show with action no matter who we are, where we come from or what happened to us does not define who we are. The greatest gift we have is time. Eventually it’s going to run out for all of us. When it does I just want to be remembered as a good person. Enjoy this life, it’s the only one we have to live.
Joshua will soon receive the freedom he describes in the video above when he moves into his new home on Zoar Road in Maineville. The digs are being custom-built for him by Homes For Our Troops (HFOT). The home is being built by Michalson Homes of Milford.
“What that means to me is freedom of movement. I no longer have to think about my next step or if I can use a wheelchair,” said Joshua “At my current home I have to either wear my prosthesis or use crutches because the doorways and hallways are not wide enough.”
Joshua’s home will be a handicap accessible home. Meaning the doorways are wider, grab bars in the shower, a roll-in shower in the master bedroom, and, hardwood floors on a single slab.
Joshua says that receiving a Homes For Our Troops (HFOT) home will be a game-changer. He is friends with several HFOT Veterans and has been inspired by their journey. He has witnessed the difference a specially adapted custom Homes For Our Troops home has made in their lives. In his current home, Joshua often gets discouraged because he cannot use a wheelchair and is forced to use a crutch for everything, including going downstairs to do laundry. With freedom and independence, the home will provide him, he will have more time and energy to host Amputee Coalition Peer Support groups in his home. Originally from Cincinnati, Joshua is choosing to remain in Ohio to be close to family and friends.
“The neighborhood I will move into can be summed up with being peaceful,” said Joshua. “I am currently in Colerain. I am an avid hunter and fisherman. The idea for moving near Loveland was country living with peace and quiet that I do not currently have.” He does not have a move-in date currently, but he said he is just amazed at the progress that has been completed since September.
The paying it forward motto of Joshua’s is, “I just do that as much as I can either financially or just helping people out. I’ve been blessed with a lot in life and it would be very selfish of me to just take and not give back as much as I can” He said that he is just trying to be a good human.
HFOT will be holding the community kick off on January 9th at the Loveland VFW.
There will also be a volunteer day where people in the community come and help with landscaping and laying sod. Joshua has been told that it might have to be after the “key ceremony” due to Covid 19 restrictions.
“The most important part I’m looking forward to is having my family over for the holidays. Or cookouts in the summer. I just want to share this amazing blessing with the ones I love,” said Joshua.
Joshua feels grateful to receive a specially adapted custom home and said about Homes For Our Troops, “First and foremost thank you all for this amazing life-changing gift. Without your donations, none of this would be possible. I will not take this for granted and will pay it forward every way I can. You gave me freedom and independence. It is men and women like you that make this country so great.”
*VIRTUAL EVENT* COMMUNITY KICKOFF
Please join us on Zoom as we kick off the building of Cpl Joshua Sust’s specially adapted custom home!
Date: Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021
Time: 10 a.m. EST
For more information on how to get involved in this project contact our Community Outreach Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.