SMC Sgt. Nick Kimmel (Ret.) grew up in a small town in central Washington. Nick was offered a baseball scholarship but instead joined the Marines in 2008. On December 1, 2011, Nick was building a patrol base for the Georgian army just south of the Kajaki Dam. He was standing on the forks of a tram, ensuring a guard post’s roof was square. When Nick jumped from the forks, he landed on a 40-pound improvised explosive device (IED). He was knocked unconscious and does not remember anything from the explosion.
Nick woke up three days later at Walter Reed National Medical Center. While there, he had surgery every other day for an entire month. On January 1, 2012, Nick flew with his father to Naval Medical Center San Diego for his outpatient and physical therapy. Doctors told him it would take thirteen to fifteen months to walk on prosthetics —he did so in seven. Nick was even able to fly to Japan with his father for his unit’s homecoming.
The most important person through this process has been his father, Rick. Nick plans to attend San Diego State University to pursue mechanical engineering. The Gary Sinise Foundation proudly built Nick a custom specially adapted smart homes in Fallbrook, CA.