Valley non-profit helps veterans transition home from the battlefield

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All month long, CBS 5 is partnering with Fry's food stores to pay it forward to our military families.

It's the fifth year of our Courageous Hearts campaign.

CBS 5 This Morning anchor Preston Phillips introduces us to a Valley non-profit that's helping veterans transition back into the community from the battlefield.

Jacob Spencer was nearly killed 13 years ago when his military vehicle encountered an IED in Iraq.

It was his second deployment to the Middle East.

"I just remember this loud explosion, this loud noise and then I remember lying on my side inside the vehicle kind of coming to and kind of thinking, 'what just happened,'" said Spencer.

The explosion blew out the side of the road and caused the vehicle to roll into a canal.

Thankfully, everyone survived, but not without injury.

"It knocked me out. I fractured my shoulder, my elbow, my knee," said Spencer.

Soon after Spencer and his team came in contact with the IED, he returned home, transitioning from the battlefield to the civilian life, no easy task.

"A lot of it has to do with your emotions, which you experience because now you're entering one world from a whole other world where it's just not what you're used to," said Spencer.

"Their lives have changed and it is a new normal and there's nothing wrong with that," said Kathy Pearce, who started Arizona Heroes to Hometowns 12 years ago, two years after her son Brent suffered a traumatic brain injury, lost both of his legs and the use of his left arm after the tactical truck he was driving was blown up by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

She understands what these guys go through. And because of your generous donations, is able to help them get back to a productive, healthy life.

"It's just heartwarming to know that we have been able to touch their lives and maybe changed it and kept them from doing things maybe that they wouldn't be here with their families," said Pearce.

So when you donate to Fry's Food Stores during our Courageous Hearts campaign, know that your money is going directly to helping out organizations like this, so that the transition for guys like Spencer, from the battlefield to the real world, is as painless as possible because they've sacrificed for us and have been through enough.

Courageous Hearts goes until the end of February.

Our goal is to raise $250,000 this year.

You can donate at your local Fry's Food store.

One hundred percent of proceeds go to organizations that support military members, veterans and their families.

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