After graduating from North Oconee High School in 2007, James Michael Boucher began attending Gainesville State College. A little over a year in, Michael was unsure about continuing his college education. He decided to join the United States Marine Corps and departed for boot camp at Parris Island in December of 2008, the first step in his new life as a Marine.
In March of 2011, Michael set out for the Sangin Valley as part of his second deployment to Afghanistan as a combat engineer with the 1st Battalion, Fifth Marines. Located in southern Afghanistan, the Sangin Valley was “the most kinetic place with Improvised Explosive Devices (IED)”. In his own words:
On June 12, 2011 I was called out to do a post blast analysis with EOD on two IED’s that had struck one of the squads from my patrol base. Once we got out there we began checking the area for secondaries and also remaining gear. I successfully swept a path finding no IED’s or gear. On the way back down the same path I stepped on a pressure plate I must have missed the first time. I heard a loud booming noise and was lifted into the air along with a lot of dirt and debris. It was then that I realized I had lost both of my legs below my knee. When I came down to the ground I landed in a seated position in the crater formed by the IED blast. I then began to put a tourniquet on my right leg before a Corpsman came to assist me. Not long after, I was medivac’d to safety.
After retiring from the Marine Corps, Michael returned to Hawkinsville, Georgia where he resides today with his wife Kaley and two small children, Brayley and Joshua. Currently, Michael is focused on spending time with his family and watching his children grow. He also enjoys hunting, fishing, and being outdoors.
About our group: Operation K.A.R.E - Knowledge, Awareness, Results, Empower In 2016, our fraternity at High Point University began ‘Operation KARE’ - a student led initiative aimed at raising money to provide Track Chairs for wounded veterans. We were motivated by the service and sacrifice of the brave men and women who serve in uniform. Realizing that they were not much older than we were at the time, we wanted to do something tangible and meaningful for them. Between 2016 and 2017 our group raised AND donated over $50,000 to the Independence Fund to provide Track Chairs and other wellness programs for veterans around the country. To achieve this, we built a nationwide coalition of 300+ donors — individuals, businesses, and other organizations — from 28 states around the country. While many of the people who began this have since graduated college, we want to continue in our mission to care for our nation’s most deserving.
This year, we are looking to provide a Track Chair for Michael Boucher who lost both of his legs while serving in Afghanistan in 2011. Michael is a USMC veteran and friend of PJ Glavey, our group’s 2017 Track Chair Recipient. This Track Chair will provide our veteran with enhanced mobility and enable him to pursue a more active lifestyle with his loving and supportive family. We hope you’ll join us and spread word about our cause to provide Michael with this special gift and honor veterans everywhere for their service and sacrifice.
Founded in 2007, The Independence Fund is committed to empowering our nation’s severely wounded, injured, or ill Veterans to overcome the physical, mental, and emotional wounds incurred in the line of duty. Through their Mobility, Caregiver, Advocacy, and Adaptive Sports programs, The Independence Fund provides dynamic resources to bridge the gap of unmet needs for Veterans and their caregivers. The organization ensures that the services they provide focus on the goal of giving our Veterans the best mobility device options available, as well as promoting the mental and physical health of both our Veterans, and their families. For more details regarding the Independence Fund’s mission, how to donate, or ways to get involved, please visit www.independencefund.org.