Smiles Charity Committee

2017 Recipient:

SSgt Jason Morgan

US Air Force Special Operations Command (Airborne), retired

SSgt Jason Morgan

Jason Morgan, born in Dallas,Texas in 1969 enlisted into the US Air Force in 1989 and trained to become a combat weatherman. The combat weather team is a small elite unit in the Air Force Special Operations Command.

Combat Weather Teams are organized, trained and equipped to provide meteorological and oceanographic intelligence information in and for the Army’s special operations theaters of conflict. Duties performed range from staff support to ground combat operations, which include tactical infiltration, observing, forecasting, training indigenous personnel to take limited observations, and mission tailoring of environmental information.

In June of 1999,  Staff Sergeant Jason Morgan was deployed to South America on a counter narcotics mission while attached to the 160th SOAR (Special  Operations Aviation Regiment) called the Night Stalkers.  Trying avoid a dangerous situation, the driver of the SUV that Morgan was riding in, lost control of the vehicle which  began flipping down a ravine. Jason was ejected from the back seat and the vehicle rolled over him crushing his back and leaving him  face down in shallow water unable to move or breathe. An American mission working in South America pulled Jason out of the water and coordinated a rescue. After waking from a coma two months, the doctors told him that  he was lucky to be alive but paralyzed from the waist down and would never walk again.

3 1/2 Years of hospitalization and countless surgeries was followed by pain and depression. Soon after his injury, Morgan's marriage ended and he raised his three young boys almost entirely by himself.

Morgan's current mission is to speak to groups about the things a person can do – not what they think they can’t. After receiving his service dog from Canine Companions for Independence in 2010, Morgan has been active speaking to schools, churches,  boy scouts and other organizations educating  about service dogs and their roles as well as motivating people how to over come adversity.  As the national spokesperson for Canine Companions for Independence, Morgan volunteers his time by speaking all over the US helping kids and with disabilities and disabled veterans receive these highly trained service dogs at no cost to the recipient.  Morgan also regularly visits hospitals and VA facilities with his service dog that he claims makes a world of difference during their difficult time and recovery. Although paralyzed from the waist down and recently losing his leg due to a bone infection, he stays active water and snow skiing, SCUBA diving with his 3 boys, competed and medaled in the Warrior Games (Military Paralympics) and recently pushed his racing wheelchair (not a hand cycle) 26.2 miles in the Marine Corp Marathon.

See Past Home Recipients