Army veteran Adam Greathouse has been named the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year.
The DAV called Greathouse, of Kenna, West Virginia, a “compassionate volunteer” who has donated more than 5,100 hours at the Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center.
“Time and again, Adam has shown that, no matter how hard the fight, you can always come out stronger with the right attitude and support system,” said fellow Army veteran and DAV National Commander Stephen “Butch” Whitehead in a release. “We are blessed to have Adam within our ranks. He is an inspiration to all veterans, from ones just now stepping off the battlefield to those currently battling in their recovery and beyond.”
Greathouse enlisted in the Army in 1999 and quickly fell in love with military life, but fate had other plans when he breathed an unknown chemical substance while deployed to Kosovo in 2001, the release stated.
The chemical, which could have been leftover from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, severely burned his lungs. Doctors gave him only a 2% chance of survival after he woke up 100 pounds lighter from a two-month medically induced coma. As a result, he had sustained a traumatic brain injury.
Following his recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Greathouse left military service and quickly found himself struggling to find his new place in life as a civilian.
In the decade that followed, Greathouse wrestled with alcohol abuse and suicidal thoughts, until he participated in recreational therapy through the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2011. Since then, Greathouse has helped his fellow veterans at his local VA medical center, where he continues to serve as a DAV volunteer.
In addition to logging thousands of volunteer hours, Greathouse has told his story to over 1,700 veterans and VA staff members, providing valuable insight into what disabled veterans experience in their recovery.
Greathouse continues to participate in recreational therapy, including the annual National Disabled Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass, Colorado. In 2017, he was the recipient of the event’s DAV Freedom Award for his remarkable spirit in the face of injury.
A few months later, DAV honored Greathouse again with the Victories for Veterans Award, presented during the Carolina Country Music Fest in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The award is reserved for veterans who overcome tremendous challenges and serve as an inspiration for others.