Michael Jernigan is a Marine who while proudly served with Company E 2nd Battalion 2nd Marine regimen in Iraq, was injured in an IED explosion. Michael suffered life treating and life changing injuries that day. 45% of his cranium was crushed in. He had shrapnel enter in his right eye and exit through his left eye, cutting everything in between, leaving him completely blind. Michael went through 30 major surgeries in the first 12 months and spent 16 month in hospitals and rehab facilities. It has been thirteen years since the attack.
Michael dedicates his life to volunteering his time community service for which Michael was award the ‘Veteran of the Year Award’ from his hometown of St. Petersburg Florida. Eleven years ago Michael Co founded Paws for Patriots at South Eastern Guide Dogs; which provides guide dogs and service animals to veterans. He has touched thousands of lives through his motivational speaking, peer to peer counseling and most recently his book, titled "Vision". Michael’s continued service to others has not gone unnoticed and on November 9, 2017 Michael was awarded ‘The Ross Perot Patriot award’.
He has turned the most traumatic experience of his life into a life filled with a new purpose; to help others gain their vision. Michael’s favorite saying is, “It wasn’t until I lost my sight, that I gained my vision”.
In October of 2019, Michael and his wife was able to visit Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii.