Combat wounded veterans live abundantly with help from LSC

LSC’s Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) provides “wraparound” services for combat wounded veterans that augment the traditional therapy and case management they receive through our partner, Neuro Community Care. HCBS teammates personalize their approach to each veteran based on their individual needs and goals, helping them work toward greater independence.

HCBS Program Director Jesus Ramirez and his team of community support specialists currently serve six combat wounded veterans ranging in age from 25 to 60. Each of these veterans has a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and/or a life-threatening illness. They live independently or with their families and confront a range of daily challenges including aphasia (loss of language), seizures, and light sensitivity, often in addition to physical disabilities. For many, their connection with HCBS gives them a reason to leave the house and keep striving toward new goals.

“[Ramirez] gets me out of my comfort zone,” said S. C., a veteran who uses a wheelchair and has multiple sclerosis (MS).* “I try things I’ve never tried before.”

Ramirez and his team plan a robust calendar of events to keep their veterans engaged. Some are group events, and others help clients explore personal interests and goals.

“For Veterans Day 2023, we went on a deep-sea fishing expedition 25 nautical miles off the coast of Morehead City,” said Ramirez. “Our clients were among 60 vets who participated in the trip on a 100-foot boat that we chartered from Operation North State. Over 12 hours, we caught fish, sharks, turtles, and mahi dolphins. It was also a great chance for clients to network, make new friends, and get tips from more experienced vets on how to navigate the Veterans Administration.”

Ramirez has accompanied S. C. on a wide range of “adventure therapy” outings including cycling, surfing, skydiving, and kayaking. Funding for the trips is provided by the Wounded Warrior Project. In January 2024, S. C. and Ramirez are going on their second annual snowmobiling excursion through a program offered by another nonprofit, An Officer and Two Gentlemen. During this winter season, about 50 combat wounded veterans will stay in Airbnbs and snowmobile across the border from New Hampshire into Canada. Community support specialists like Ramirez provide physical and emotional support during the ride, which can be not only chilly but arduous. And this time, S. C.’s snowmobile will be outfitted with a specially designed five-point harness system to help him stay upright and safe throughout the journey.

“That will be a big improvement over last year’s trip,” noted S. C. with good humor.

Although MS has started to affect his upper body strength, S. C. refuses to give up. “My faith keeps me going,” he added. “I’ve learned that I can’t control anything. So I tell myself, ‘wipe it up, Buttercup,’ and move on to what’s next.”

S.C.’s tenacity and generous spirit have had a ripple effect. In addition to being a test case for the new snowmobile harness – which will benefit many other veterans who make the trek – he personally finds new homes for any medical equipment he is no longer using. He has a robust network of friends in the disability community, which he credits to his HCBS activities.

“Each member of the HCBS team serves as a recreational therapist, occupational therapist, and Big Brother/Big Sister combined,” Ramirez said. “We provide physical, mental, and social engagement. Our job is to empower veterans so they know that, even with lifelong challenges, they can live full lives as part of the community.”

To learn more about the HCBS program for combat wounded veterans, contact Jesus Ramirez at or 910.257.2027.

*The client’s initials are used to protect his privacy.