Jessica Klein has a lot on her mind when she sits beside her husband, Capt. Edward Flip Klein, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland.
The Stryker brigade officer from Joint Base Lewis-McChord lost three limbs when he stepped on a mine in Afghanistan last month, and the couples lives wont ever be the same.
But one thing they dont have to worry about is how theyll pay their bills while they sort out a rehabilitation plan.
Her friends at the Trident Athletics CrossFit gym on South Tacoma Way launched a fundraising drive that brought in nearly $28,000 from around the country, freeing the couple to focus on whats really important.
They created something amazing, and now the whole world has my husband in their prayers, Jessica Klein, 28, said in a phone interview.
Im able to look at my husband and just tell him Were fine, dont worry about anything, and thats my job, said Klein, who quit her job managing the Panera Bread cafe in the Tacoma Mall to be with her husband back east.
At the gym, Trident owners Jeff and Amanda Serven say they had to do something for the Kleins.
They met the captain last year when the couple went looking for a gym. The Servens became invested in Jessicas goal to be in the best shape of her life for her husbands homecoming. He belongs to Lewis-McChords 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, due home early next year.
She was working her (butt) off, like being here a couple hours a day working her (butt) off, Jeff Serven said.
Jessica is very driven, Amanda Serven said. Shes always determined to get her goals.
The Servens identified with the Army couple, too. Until two years ago, Jeff Serven wore the Trident insignia of the Navy SEALs for a decade. He deployed six times with the Special Operators, and he knew what it was like to look forward to a homecoming from the combat side of a deployment.
He called in some favors with other SEAL veterans who have gone into private business and got Capt. Kleins story promoted among different CrossFit groups. The gym owners could not believe the amount of money they helped raise.
Its not us, Amanda Serven said. We put it out there; I was just overwhelmed by how much support came in.
They got a pat on the back last week from Lt. Gen. Robert Brown, the senior Army officer at Lewis-McChord. Brown dropped by the gym to thank them for taking care of the Klein family.
A lot of people say they support the military, but they actually did it, Brown said. That makes such a difference to the family.
Jessica Klein said her husband is growing anxious to get moving on his rehabilitation. Hes undergoing surgeries almost every other day to clean his wounds of bacterial infections.
He also will have to wait to try prosthetic limbs. The explosion crushed his pelvis, and he cant put weight on his legs. He lost both legs above the knee, his right arm above the elbow and three fingers on his left hand.
Hes ready to get out of bed, but its going to be awhile, she said.
Capt. Klein was leading B Company of the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment in the Maywand district of Kandahar province when he was hurt.
Jessica Klein said he had a staff assignment in a headquarters unit for the first part of his deployment. He was eager to get out in the field with B Company when he took command of the infantrymen. He wanted to be at the front of patrols.
He wanted to do good things, she said. As far as everyone is saying from over there, he did.
She said they met at the U.S. Military Academy and married in 2006. He helped her find the gym that would give her so much support after his injury. He wanted her to have a network of friends when he left the country for his nine-month mission last spring.
Jessica Klein didnt know shed need her crew at Trident so much.
Some of the members are wives of men who work with my husband. They all rallied around me, They sat with me and made sure I wasnt alone, she said. It was more than I could ask for. I dont know how Ill ever thank them.
Adam Ashton: 253-597-8646
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