Marine to speak at NCTC Creative Writing Awards

| Apr 2, 2019

michael-jernigan.jpgUnited States Marine Michael Jernigan will be the guest speaker at this year’s North Central Texas College Creative Writing Awards on April 12, 2019.

Jernigan is a Marine who proudly served with Company E 2nd Battalion 2nd Marine regiment. On August 22, 2004, while on a deployment in Iraq, Michael's platoon was on patrol when it was hit by two 155mm artillery shells buried under the ground. The Improvised Explosive Device threw him 20 meters from their Humvee. Michael suffered life threatening and life changing injuries that day. 45% of his cranium was crushed in.  He had shrapnel enter in his right eye and exit through his left eye, cutting everything in between. He had to have two fingers reattached and his left knee fully reconstructed. He fractured his patella and cut his femoral artery. Michael went through 30 major surgeries in the first 12 months and spent 16 months in hospitals and rehab facilities.

It has been thirteen years since the attack. Michael has taken his second chance at life and turned it into something that is never taken for granted. He volunteers his time whenever it is needed and always offers a helping hand. For his dedication and continual community service Michael was awarded the ‘Veteran of the Year Award’ from his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida. Eleven years ago, Michael co-founded Paws for Patriots at South Eastern Guide Dogs; which provides guide dogs and service animals to veterans. He has touched thousands of lives through his motivational speaking, peer to peer counseling and most recently his book, titled "Vision". Michael’s continued service to others has not gone unnoticed and on November 9, 2017 Michael was awarded ‘The Ross Perot Patriot award’. He has turned the most traumatic experience of his life into a life filled with a new purpose; to help others gain their vision. Michael’s favorite saying is, “It wasn’t until I lost my sight, that I gained my vision”. Too often people solely rely on their eyes to see, but miss out on life’s most precious moments, the ones you can’t see, but only feel. Michael truly embodies what it means to be a Marine, “honor, courage, commitment”.

The Creative Writing Awards will be held on April 12, 2019, at 11 am in the First State Bank Center for the Performing Arts on NCTC’s Gainesville campus. It is a free event and is open to the public.