BJ Ganem grew up in Savannah, GA and joined the Marine Corps in 1996 after his first year in college. His recruit training took place at Paris Island, SC from there he went to Infantry Training School in Jacksonville, NC. BJ served 4 years on active duty in various capacities, among them a scout for 2nd Light Armor Reconnaissance and Infantry Skills Instructor at OCS.
In May of Gulf Company was activated to serve in support of operations in Iraq. While on patrol the vehicle BJ was driving was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device (I.E.D.) on November 25, 2004.From this attack BJ lost his lower left leg, suffered a TBI as well as various other wounds from the blast. BJ was medically evacuated to Baghdad, then to Billad, then to Lanstuhl; from Germany he was sent to Bethesda Naval Hospital in MD, and then to Walter Reed. He receives ongoing care at the Madison VA Hospital.
BJ was medically retired from the Marine Corps on October 29, 2005, and began his long transition back into civilian life. Throughout the next few years BJ would face many challenges as he tried to find his place back home while coping with his injuries and his emotions.
By 2007 things were seemingly at their lowest. Divorce, then bankruptcy, left him feeling as if his life was falling apart. It was during this time that BJ became more involved with organizations like the Semper Fi Fund. Through their programs, the programs of other nonprofits, the VA, and support from the Marine Corps and his family BJ was finding his way back.
BJ married Sarah in 2011 and they welcomed their first child together on August 31st 2013, his name is Knox. They live in Reedsburg, WI with Dylan (14) and Mackenzie (12) (children from BJ’s previous marriage) and their two English bulldogs, Dozer and Sonora.
Graduated from Saint Leo University in 2012 with a BS in Psychology, BJ continued his education at in USC, where, in 2015 he will have earned a Master’s degree in Social Work, with an emphasis on military life. He is an active advocate for wounded veterans and their families.
BJ and Sarah were awarded a Holidays For Heroes American Dream grant to help them purchase an iconic Main Street storefront in hometown of Reedsburg, WI.
A Semper Fi Veteran to Veteran Lead, BJ guides other veterans as they transition from the military back into their civilian life, working with individuals and organizations with an interest in the success of US veteran population.
In his own words,” I have been a Peer Mentor with the Wounded Warrior Project since 2009. In this role I volunteer my time to be a resource for other injured military service men and women. Through this program the Alumni are living the logo as we look to our peers to help carry us in various situations. I have both reached out to other Peer Mentors and have had the distinct honor of being a Peer Mentor. Both have helped to enrich my life. The Wounded Warrior Project is worthy of everyone’s support for the unique services they provide for the service men and women following the terrorist attack of 9/11.
An all-round athlete, and advocate for the value of sports competition and fitness in veterans’ recovery, BJ participates in hand cycling, snowboarding, running, and a pentathlon. He is captain of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team. Most recently BJ completed the Boston Marathon, having reached out two years ago, to mentor and support Boston bombing survivor, Heather Abbot.
“It’s my ninth year, and I still have bad days,” Ganem said. “But I can call Bobby, or I can call hundreds of other guys and gals. We’re there to pull each other through the dark places and push each other.”
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