Today we wrap up our 11 Days, 11 Stories series with a story about a very special wounded warrior, Bobby Henline. When you meet him and get to know him, you will never forget him. But not because of the visible scars he carries. You will remember him because of his great spirit and slightly irreverent sense of humor.
If you follow Bobby Henline on Twitter (and you should), it won’t take you long to see the guy is really funny…sometimes in a twisted “gasp” sort of way. Like when he comments how his amputated hand looks an awful lot like the pork loin filet he just bought at the grocery store and hopes he doesn’t “bite the wrong one.”
A veteran of Desert Storm, Bobby re-enlisted in the Army after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and deployed to Iraq three times with the 82nd Airborne Division and 3rd Armored Calvary regiment. He was the lone survivor of a roadside bomb attack in Iraq in 2007. With severe burns, he spent six months fighting for his life and endured dozens of painful surgeries.
But despite the seriousness of the journey he’s traveled, Bobby Henline wants to make you laugh. He pokes fun at himself so the rest of us feel less uncomfortable about his obvious injuries and to prove that it is possible for wounded warriors to heal and do great things.
Recently, Bobby was one of five comedians featured in the movie Comedy Warriors. The movie follows each warrior as they are mentored by nationally known stand-up guys (Bob Saget, Zack Galifianakis, Lewis Black, and others). It is full of heart-warming moments. For example, Bobby’s teenage daughter tearfully wonders why people stare at her Dad’s scars on his face, “He didn’t ask for this.”
After a screening of the movie in San Antonio, Bobby took questions from people in the nearly full theater. Bobby said, “I owe it to the ones who didn’t make it, to do everything I can so they didn’t die in vain. I hope to bring more joy and good from this experience” to outweigh any bad from those who tried to end their lives.
Bobby’s gaining increased national exposure for his comedy and his passion to make a positive difference. Time magazine recently released an inspiring documentary about Bobby. You’ll see why it’s easy to laugh and be inspired by Bobby.
Henline is a familiar face at Operation Homefront. He lives in San Antonio so he joins us for local events when he can. He’s hosted comedy shows to raise money for Operation Homefront. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Texas Field Office (now called Southern Plains). In addition, his daughter Brittany was selected as Operation Homefront’s very first Military Child of the Year Award winner for her maturity and the example she sets in supporting the military. (Photo credit – posted on Bobby Henline’s Twitter page.)
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.