But Todd doesn’t revisit the day in March 2010, when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan as an infantry squad leader on his way back from a security patrol.
He says he lost both his hands and his lower legs in the blast and then stops. He will, “spare you the gory details,” he says.
Now, he is one of only three men – a soldier and two Marines – from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive an attack as a quadruple amputee.
But he doesn’t talk about that either. Instead, he will tell you how determined he was to get up out of bed, and get on with his life.
“My plan was to get up and get out of the hospital as soon as possible,” Todd said. “I knew the quicker I learned to use these [prosthetics], the quicker I could make that happen.”
Todd has undergone several surgeries and has more to face. But he was up and walking less than three months after the attack.
Still, he and his wife Crystal, were stuck. Todd had more therapy and surgeries to face and the couple was living in a single room at a hotel near Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Todd beat the odds and walked again. And now he was limited to a few feet of space between his bed and the bathroom. The couple tried to rent a nearby apartment, but the cost of living was more than they could afford.
Operation Homefront gave Todd a place to continue to heal, and a home for the couple to finally relax in.
Todd says living in the Operation Homefront Village gave him a chance to really learn to care for himself again.
“The apartment was great,” he said. “It gave me a chance to experience living on my own again.”
Time in the village also gave the couple an opportunity to relax and plan for their future.
“In my situation, the financial future doesn’t always look so great, if you know what I mean,” Todd said. “It’s a big thing we’re worried about. Living here makes us a little less stressed.”
Since their time living in the Operation Homefront Villages, the Nicely family has moved to Missouri where they are working with the Gary Sinese Foundation, which played a part in giving them a brand new home. Todd is rightfully honored for his service on many occasions, including a meeting with Prince Charles in 2011 who said, “We owe them [service members], I think, an immense debt… for what they do on our behalf.”
Join in the conversation with us as we celebrate those veterans among us, by sharing stories of your own. Through Facebook or Twitter, please use the hashtag #11days11stories to share your own inspirational story of a veteran in your life.