Operation Ward 57, the Honor & Courage Program and Rock & Rally For The Troops are extremely honored to announce our 2017 featured guest speakers – SSG (Ret) Chaz Allen & his wife Jessica Allen. The Allen’s have been a part of the Operation Ward 57 family since 2011 when Chaz was injured. This family is a shining example of strength, compassion and love – leading the way for other wounded warrior families. We are very excited to welcome them to the Pacific Northwest!
About Chaz & Jessica:
Chaz was born and raised in Tishomingo and Ravia, Oklahoma. His sister, parents, grandparents and much of his extended family still reside in Oklahoma today. He joined the Army in June 1998. He reported to Ft Campbell, KY in late 1998 and was assigned to 2/327th. He met his wife, Jessica, in 1999 on a blind date. He deployed to Kosovo in August 2000 and returned February 2001. They were married just weeks after his return.
One year after their wedding, Chaz received orders to Korea and discovered that they would have their first child later that year. Chaz left for Korea in July 2002 and their daughter was born in September without her father there. Chaz returned to home in January 2004 and was assigned to 1/502nd at Ft Campbell. In May 2005, their second daughter was born and then in September he deployed to Iraq. He returned to home in September 2006. He was assigned to the NCO Academy at Ft Campbell in 2007 and stayed with them until 2009. After that assignment, he was assigned to the 1-75th CAV at Ft Campbell. He deployed with them to Afghanistan in July 2010.
On January 22, 2011 Chaz was on a dismounted patrol in the Zhari district in Afghanistan and stepped on a 40 pound IED. He instantly lost both legs, one above the knee, one below and the blast took pieces of his elbow. His amazing soldiers got him to the chopper in 8 minutes. Chaz remained alert through the entire experience. He even tried to call in for his own chopper.
From the battlefield he went to Kandahar, then Bagram, then Germany and then finally to Walter Reed in DC. While in Kandahar his knee was determined to be unsalvageable so they amputated his leg above his knee. He arrived at Walter Reed on January 25 and Jessica was brought there on the 26th.
Chaz and Jessica never stopped to count the amount of surgeries, blood transfusions or procedures Chaz has had. After several surgeries the wonderful surgeons at Walter Reed were able to save Chaz’s right arm. However his right arm is fused in a ninety-three degree angle. He also has a painful back injury, hearing loss and several other issues that fill the banker’s boxes of paperwork they have in their garage.
While at Walter Reed, Jessica was noticed for all the hard work she took on to help families like her own. She worked with the Obama Administration, numerous Congresspersons and Senators as well as government and private agencies and non-profits to improve the lives of our combat wounded families. She was also the Director of the Family Caregiver Program for the Yellow Ribbon Fund. And she represented the state of Tennessee as an Elizabeth Dole Fellow. Despite all of the chaos, Jessica maintained all of her licenses, accreditations, and continued to operate her tax and financial counseling business. She earned her Accredited Financial Counselor license in 2014. In 2017, Jessica opened a Financial Counseling office in McMinnville in hopes of helping even more families with their financial needs.
Chaz medically retired from the Army on January 19, 2013. He and his family moved to McMinnville, Tennessee where they have built an accessible home to suit his needs. They are the proud owners of two dogs, two cats, two ducks, sixteen chickens and a fish. And love the simplicity of country life.