LeMar Murphy Hero Story
For LeMar Murphy, a knee injury in 1993 while serving in the U.S. Army would be minimal compared to the life-altering injury he would incur just a few years later. He spent years in and out of hospitals and had three major knee surgeries only to be involved in a severe car accident in 1997. His vehicle rolled over and he suffered a broken neck, a concussion, and damage to his spinal cord. As a result, LeMar had to undergo surgery to his neck and refuse his C5-C6 vertebrae.
He spent a month healing at the University Hospital in Jackson, MS, and two and a half months in rehab at the Spinal Cord Injury Center at the Houston Veteran Affairs Medical Center.
“I had challenges getting out the bed. I only had movement from my chest up and needed assistance to do everything,” he said. “My wife, Secelia, and hundreds of other people supported me and stayed by my side. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
With his wife’s help, LeMar was pushed to his limits. “She inspired me, pushed me, and she made me move. She started moving my ankle daily until I could feel something, and she kept at it and went up my body until I had feeling. It took a while but I had minimal movement.”
While in recovery, LeMar was introduced to the Paralyzed Veterans of America. “The representatives would come around and talk to us, take us out on outings and sports events. They showed us we could still get out and enjoy ourselves despite our injuries.”
In 1998 LeMar joined the Texas chapter of Paralyzed Veterans and started to come out to different events and meeting people. “I’m not one to let things stop me—not even spinal cord injury. I’ll do whatever needs to be done to keep moving forward. I worked nights at a convenience store so I could go to college during the day, and I completed my degree in psychology.”
He received his bachelors from the Mississippi State University in Clarksdale, MS. And has plans to obtain his master’s in psychology. “I want to be able to counsel disabled veterans. I feel like I’ve been blessed, and I need to pay back in some way.”
After being out of the workforce for 12 years, LeMar went to the Paralyzed Veterans of America San Antonio Vocational Rehabilitation Center in 2009 to get training and gain employment to achieve his goals. He met with Keisha Wright, a vocational rehabilitation counselor who works to fulfill the employment and training needs of area veterans (she has about 50 people in her caseload at any one time). “In less than five months (of working) with Keisha, I got a job, an administrative position, and I’ve been going 100 miles an hour ever since.”
Keisha was able to place LeMar with Goodwill Industries, which is helping him reintegrate into the working environment. “I am working so I can buy a vehicle and hand controls. My ultimate goal is to put myself in the position where I can do something using my degree. I think psychology is my calling.”
LeMar enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1983 and was medically retired as a corporal. He currently resides in San Antonio, TX.
Paralyzed Veterans is a nonprofit organization and is financed solely through donations from generous and caring Americans.
To learn how you can help our paralyzed veterans, visit www.pva.org.