Nick was a flight engineer on chinook in the 160th SOAR special operations unit in the Army from 2001-2010. He loved his job. He volunteered for all his deployments, which ended up being 7 times to Iraq and Afghanistan. This was his career. Nick was part of Operation Redwing, where 16, 160th soldier and Navy Seals were killed when their chinook was shot down. Nick was part of the team to recover the bodies of his best friends. This was very hard for him. He remembers all of it and has visions of this horrible experience. This was very hard for his wife, Mary as well. When the information was on the news that one of their helicopters were shot down, Mary knew there was a one in four chance it was her husband. Mary had to wait three days to get word on the names of the soldiers that were in the crash. That was the longest three days of her life.
Nick deployed after the incident, and this time he was not so lucky. He was on a mission to pick up some Special Forces troops in the mountains of Afghanistan. They were trying to do a ramp landing when the number one engine failed in the helicopter. The chinook crashed and rolled down the mountain. All Nick remembers is that the helicopter was filled with smoke and he couldn't breathe. He helped some other guys get out of the helicopter and they ran as far up the mountain as they could before the entire helicopter was engulfed in flames and destroyed. By a miracle nobody was seriously harmed. The entire crew had to wait on the mountain for three days to be rescued.
After he came home from this deployment, a chinook from his unit was flying around in the states, like they did almost everyday. That chinook ran into a TV tower and crashed. The crash killed everybody on board except one. Two of the soldiers that died were on the crash with Nick just a few months before. Nick's unit was was small and close knit, so this was a huge blow for him.
A few months later, Nick started noticing blood in his urine. He went in for just some normal tests, and they couldn't find anything. They did a scope of his bladder, and at age 27 Nick was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He had to go through treatment for many months, and it was very uncomfortable for him. He has been cancer free for five years, but recently Doctors have found more blood in his urine. Bladder cancer is one of the most recurrent types of cancer, so they are prepared for more surgery and treatment soon. Hopefully it will be nothing, and they are hoping for the best.
He has severe PTSD from the war and cannot work. Nick tries not to leave the house. He has went from active and strong to an introvert and a recluse. His only communication is with his wife.
Nick suffers from PTSD, extreme migraines 8-10 times a month, IBS, herniated discs and strain in his neck and back, and surgeries in both of his knees. In fact, they just spent time in the ER last week because Nick's back is so bad that he cannot walk. He is 32 years old. They moved to TN from GA where we were stationed for 9 years.
Mary and Nick Yasenak need your help to win the $20,000 in home repairs from Home Depot. What I need you all to do is to stop by the Home Depot Facebook page and vote for my sweet couple.