Face of Defense: Soldier proves miracles do happen
ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 22, 2017 — Army Sgt. Aaron Averre is a walking, talking miracle. Shortly before Christmas in 2016, he suffered his first of many seizures.
“It started with headaches … I didn't think much of them. We work hard as soldiers and often times it can create physical discomforts. I was feeling especially tired after being released for Christmas break and decided to lay down,” Averre recalled.
He continued, “My next memory was being surrounded by Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services in my home. I didn't recognize my wife, I couldn't tell EMS who I was, where I was. And given all the disorientation, I became combative toward the people trying to help me.”
As Christmas day approached, Averre found himself at the University of North Carolina’s hospital undergoing emergency brain surgery to remove a mass in his frontal lobe. The surgery was successful.
Averre said he returned home with 42 staples and a plate in his head.
Three days later, Averre found himself back in the hospital after he collapsed at home from chest pain. Pulmonary embolisms were found in his lungs, in addition to a form of tachycardia, an extremely rapid heart rate.
“I lost most of my memory after the first seizure and only recall faint images and sounds during the emergency care. It was unknown if my memories would return or if I would literally have to start over," Averre said of his experience. “There was also a very real concern as to whether I would survive the brain surgery. This was especially hard on my wife and family. My mother flew from Washington State to North Carolina, uncertain that I would be alive when she got here. The emotional toll during everything was infinitely overwhelming.”
With his family’s unwavering support and his determination, Averre began to get better. He credits Womack Army Medical Hospital, the UNC Hospital, Cape Fear Regional Hospital, Intrepid Spirit TBI Clinic and Cape Fear Valley Cardiology for his ongoing recovery.
Fort Bragg’s Warrior Transition Battalion is a “Godsend,” he said
“The Fort Bragg WTB has been the biggest blessing for my recovery. I am very fortunate to have had the unwavering support of my previous unit to send me here. The WTB has provided me with expert level medical care monitoring, physical activities to aid in recovery, internships to assist with skill retention and emotional support for myself and family,” Averre said of his experience with the WTB.
He added, “The civilians, cadre and command team of the WTB have ensured that no matter where I transition to, I will be prepared.”
Determined to always find the silver lining in a cloud, Averre, who hails from the state of Washington, said he and his wife, Tonya, will experience another miracle in 2018.
“I’m a stubborn person with a strong will to live,” he said. “I still have a lot to accomplish in this life. It truly is a miracle for us to be expecting a beautiful baby girl this January. I am blessed to have such an amazing wife and family.”