Kosovo veteran, Adam Greathouse, of Spencer, WV, shows employees at the Huntington VA Medical Center a poster board chronicling the history of his recovery from almost dead to full of life thanks in large part to his recreational therapy.
While on a UN peacekeeping mission, Corporal Greathouse inhaled toxic chemicals.
"I was coughing up blood, parts of my lung, it seemed," says Greathouse in a sit-down interview on Thursday.
He was hospitalized, had a lung removed, and woke up from a coma two months later.
His family was told it was over.
"Somebody at the military did call our house," says Greathouse's mother, Darlene. "They said that he would probably have twelve hours to live."
The family was even sent a flag to decorate Corporal Greathouse's almost certain funeral.
"I use that as motivation for the recreational therapy I've been receiving," says Greathouse. "It just pushes me further, and I just want to keep going and going and going."
It was not magical.
Upon returning home, Greathouse felt lost and forgotten, and stayed that way for about seven years.
"Waiting around for it to be over. I felt like a burden," remembers Greathouse. "That led to depression, and from depression, it went to anxiety."
"I turned to alcohol, and it wasn't really because I was a big drinker. The main thing was to stay numb."
Then he learned about a place called the VA Medical Center.
"I didn't even know the VA existed. No one told me anything," says Greathouse. "I mean, some people didn't even know that I made it."
At the VA, he found therapy and support.
He also learned what was going on inside his head, anoxic brain injury.
That means parts of his brain were damaged from lack of oxygen.
He may have never found this out, if he hadn't made this leap, encouraged by his mother, therapist and others like him.
In January, Greathouse began speaking to groups of employees at the Huntington VA.
He had a session just before our interview on Thursday, where he presented his mother with a certificate to honor her for staying by his side throughout his struggle and recovery.