By Michael Slother - email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Chad Fleming had his leg amputated after being ambushed by the Iraqi army in 2005.
"I was shot by a sniper from about 200 yards away. It knocked me off the vehicle; I didn't know how bad I had been injured yet. I went to stand up and couldn't," he said.
It wasn't the first time he'd been injured in combat. Fleming's had 23 surgeries. He says the time spent in the hospital is one of the worst parts. "You are by yourself and there are times where you get depressed.
That's where the Wounded Warrior Project comes in. Soldiers receive a backpack filled with clothes and other items. "You'd be surprised how big of a morale booster that is coming from a wounded situation where you have nothing. Everything has been stripped off you and now you have a bag with pretty much everything in it that you need," Fleming said.
Bryan Offout is one of Fleming's closest friends and a project director with Under Armour. "Football is something some of us may take for granted," Offout continued. "Today we're going to try and remember our veterans," he said.
Red Raiders coach Tommy Tubberville spent time with soldiers overseas and was so touched, he wanted to be part of the project. Texas Tech is one of three NCAA teams to wear custom jerseys. It's more than just a new look.
"After the game, we take those jerseys and auction them off. 100% of proceeds go back to the Wounded Warriors Project," Offout said. Last year they raised $150,000.
Fleming and two other wounded warriors led the entire team to down the Raider Walk. Since his surgery, Fleming has been doing more than just walking. He's biked from Dallas to San Antonio, and last year he ran the New York City Marathon.
"I've got no regrets. If you told me today that if I didn't go overseas, that you would give me my leg back, I wouldn't change anything that I've done," Fleming said.
He says he hopes the wounded warrior project will inspire other soldiers.
"There's not really a word to describe it. It's very enlightening. It's comforting to know that people do care that you are out there."
If you'd like to bid on one of the jerseys, you can do so here starting Monday.
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