‘Team Patriot’ bands together wounded vets to serve others through disaster relief: ‘It’s a new life for me’

Wounded veterans who received help and healing wanted to serve again -- and that's how "Team Patriot," a new initiative of Samaritan's Purse, got started.

Team Patriot volunteers, veterans who attended Operation Heal Our Patriots put on by Evangelist Franklin Graham's group since 2012, helped rebuild and repair homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey this week in Pearland and Rockport, Texas.

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“It’s amazing to see how these veterans who have received help are now helping others," said Graham, whose son, Edward, was wounded while on active duty in Iraq in 2007. "They fought for our country overseas and now they’re building up our country at home. These veterans truly are our heroes. They deserve our deepest respect and gratitude."

Team Patriot members pray after a day spent installing bathrooms, repairing windows and laying trim at a home devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

Team Patriot members pray after a day spent installing bathrooms, repairing windows and laying trim at a home devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

Today, the father and son, a West Point graduate and Army Ranger who was wounded by shrapnel in his arms, leg and back, both work with Samaritan's Purse and are heavily invested in helping fellow military families heal and thrive.

"The injuries that these veterans face are extraordinarily painful but I believe we are seeing how the love of God is stronger than anything," Graham said. "He’s the one who is bringing marriages and families back together. He’s the one who is leading these soldiers to give back like this.”

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One of those serving this week, Robert Bogus III, who was a sergeant in the Marine Corps, said it's given him "new life," "new purpose," and "a new sense of filling a void in assisting others."

Robert Bogus III and his wife, Hilary, at the Operation Heal Our Patriots retreat in Alaska in 2014 on the left, Bogus volunteering with Team Patriot in Texas, helping families hit by Hurricane Harvey in August 2019.

Robert Bogus III and his wife, Hilary, at the Operation Heal Our Patriots retreat in Alaska in 2014 on the left, Bogus volunteering with Team Patriot in Texas, helping families hit by Hurricane Harvey in August 2019. (Samaritan's Purse)

Bogus sustained a double traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and spinal injuries after an explosion destroyed his vehicle during a deployment in Iraq. He was told he would never walk again.

When I think about Team Patriot, it’s a new life for me—it’s a new purpose. It’s a new sense of filling a void in assisting others. I still personally want to serve those around me and Jesus said ‘I come to serve but not to be served.’

— Robert Bogus III

But, determined to fight back, Bogus made a remarkable recovery from being bed-ridden to a wheelchair, then a walker and eventually walking again -- but he was left with emotional scars that were interfering with his personal life.

On the brink of divorce from his wife, Hilary, the two attended Operation Heal Our Patriots in 2014 in Alaska, which helped save their marriage. And today he's able to give back.

Robert Bogus III speaks with homeowner Beatrice Richard after Team Patriot members repaired her Houston, Texas home.

Robert Bogus III speaks with homeowner Beatrice Richard after Team Patriot members repaired her Houston, Texas home.

“Being able to serve others in the community, it gives me a sense of purpose again," he said. "Being in the armed forces is one thing that I wanted to be a part of but to be able to come back home and still be a part of this and still be considered an asset to someone else, it still gives me that sense of pleasure and comfort."

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Through an ongoing aftercare program, Samaritan’s Purse continues to encourage and equip military couples by providing resources, crisis care and prayer support. Team Patriot is a new initiative of Samaritan’s Purse and it builds on the aftercare program by giving wounded veterans and their spouses an opportunity to give back through U.S. Disaster Relief.