SPC (Ret.) Aaron Estes grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma before attending Northeastern State University. After college and starting a family, he was struggling and working two jobs before joining the Army National Guard in 2009.
During his deployment to Afghanistan in 2011, Estes was performing a routine foot patrol when a 40-pound roadside bomb detonated and produced a blast radius equivalent to that of an 80-pound bomb. He suffered severe shrapnel wounds to the face, right forearm, and lower legs. Estes sustained a traumatic brain injury, loss of vision in his left eye, blown ear drums with inner ear damage, and multiple fractures.
While recovering at the San Antonio Military Medical Center at Ft. Sam Houston, Estes underwent several surgeries, limb salvage procedures, and physical therapy. He now lives with vision loss, hearing loss, short term memory loss, and is able to walk, run, and remain active with the assistance of his IDEO brace.
After interning as an intelligence analyst with the Department of Homeland Security- ICE, Aaron retired from the military and now devotes much of his time to volunteer work. He is very active with Operation K-9, his children’s schools, and the American Legion.
Aaron and his wife, Tabitha, have 5 children and are looking forward to providing them with a loving and stable home, free from the frequent relocations that accompany military life.