US Army Retired SSG J.D. Williams served seven years in the military and two deployments, one in Iraq (2007-2008) and the second in Afghanistan (2010). On his 2nd tour overseas with the 1-502nd Mohawk Infantry Scouts, he was leading a small reconnaissance team through dangerous enemy territory when an improvised explosive device detonated directly underneath him. Still conscience and his team under enemy fire, he went to pick up his weapon and realized that his left arm was severely mangled and his right arm was gone. Unable to sit up, he looked down to see that his legs were no longer in tact. He remained alert through the record fast medical evacuation out of dangerous territory. After arriving at the hospital in Germany, he remembers looking up at a nurse telling him that he was going to be okay. It was that moment that he went into cardiac arrest. The doctors were able to successfully perform a thoracotomy (cardiac massage) with no detrimental trauma to his brain.
Williams grew up in a small town in Montana where hunting and the outdoors were his life. His dad would haul him around in his hunting pack through the mountains before he was even able to walk. Throughout his own recovery, he has realized how therapeutic the outdoors can be. With all odds against him, he found ways to adapt and overcome his injuries so that he is still able to enjoy the things in life he is passionate about. He has learned to shoot a bow with the use of one arm and a mouth tab and travels all over the country as a professional hunter and guide. He also competes in shooting competitions and is a co-host with Southern Kentucky Great Outdoors on ESPN Radio.
His passion led him to found Mohawk Outdoors, an organization that assists combat Veterans by incorporating hunting, fishing, and other outdoor adventures. He has seen first hand how these types of opportunities can be therapeutic and strives to provide similar opportunities to other Veterans that may benefit. It gives them hope and something to look forward too.
Williams currently resides in Kentucky with his wife, Ashlee and their daughter, Kaelyn. Ashlee works with the Coalition’s Heroes Thanking Heroes team and they are both dedicated supporters of the organization.