Heart Behind the House, Crabbe Family

March 30, 2015

When Corporal Justin Crabbe, USMC, was wounded in Afghanistan in an IED blast, causing him to lose both legs, his family didn’t know what to expect. All they knew was that they would be there for Justin.

After learning about her son, Maureen, her husband Cliff, and their daughter, Jenn, flew from their home in California to Bethesda, Maryland to join Justin.

The Crabbe family stayed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center with Justin for 13 weeks. Once Justin became an outpatient, Maureen and Jenn would stay at the Fisher House, while Cliff stayed with Justin as his caregiver in the hospital’s wounded warrior barracks.

“I think Justin enjoys us all being here, we’ve been so close to him,” said Jenn. “Every day we’re together. We can take breaks and shifts; it helps especially when appointments are nonstop. We even got to see him as a family walk. 

Justin made incredible progress throughout his months of recovery. He unfortunately developed a heart problem after his injury, but that was solved with medication.

He recovered enough to go home for Christmas, and then visit Hawaii and see friends and attend a Warrior Ball while he was there.

Cliff eventually returned to work, and Maureen stayed with Justin to be his non-medical attendant. Jenn, who had just finished PA school when Justin was injured, remained in California after the holidays to finish her boards and focus on getting a job.

Throughout Justin’s injury, the Crabbe family was able to heal – together. Thanks to Fisher House, they were always a short walk away from Justin. They also had all the comforts of home, and other families to lean on for support.

“Let me tell you, these families understand what you’re going through,” Maureen said. “When we first got here, the shock is overwhelming; you don’t realize the fog you’re in. But when you’ve got another family welcoming you and promising you things will get better, it’s amazing.”

 The whole Crabbe family is back home in California. Jenn is now married; and Justin is doing very well. He’s gotten a car suited for him, moved into a new house, and is engaged. Maureen is back to work at the job she left when Justin was injured. Her colleagues donated their vacation time so she could be with Justin and return to work once he was better.

 Some families triumph through tragedy, and the Crabbe family is proof that a family’s love is really the best medicine.