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U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Russell Snodgrass
Prompted by pride and admiration for the honorable men in his family who served before him, U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Russell Snodgrass felt more than just a calling to join the armed forces, he felt a personal obligation to serve his country. In April of 2000 Snodgrass began his nearly six-year journey as an active duty member of the United States Navy.
The following year brought a marriage to his high school sweetheart and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. While training, Snodgrass injured his back while fast-roping out of a helicopter in Korea. Snodgrass worked through his injury, knowing he would be needed in a combat zone.
His unit deployed for the initial invasion of Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In April 2003, an amphibious assault vehicle was hit by enemy fire. The force of the explosion knocked Snodgrass unconscious, which resulted in further injury to his back, as well as a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which was compounded by repetitive exposure to explosions throughout the deployment. These injuries, along with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) forced Snodgrass to be honorable discharged in October 2005.
For his service, Snodgrass received awards including the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
Since returning home, Snodgrass’ condition has become progressively worse. In August 2016 he became partially paralyzed from the deterioration of his spine and he is at risk of becoming permanently wheelchair bound in the future.
Snodgrass and his family have been on a challenging journey trying to navigate Russell’s return to civilian life, but when asked if he would change anything about his past, Russell unequivocally says no. Much of their positive outlook can be attributed to their strong faith. Russell was called to ministry, specifically to spread the word to veterans and their families, and now leads bible studies. Russell, his wife Ashley, and their four children enjoy spending time together and in the church.
Operation FINALLY HOME along with the West Texas Hero Homes and H-E-B Operation Appreciation are proud to provide the Snodgrass family with a custom-built, mortgage-free home in Lubbock, Texas.