A marine critically wounded in Iraq is now sharing his story of recovery and rebirth in a book, which was released recently at Largo's Armed Forces History Museum in Largo.

  • Marine Michael Jernigan (ret.) was injured serving in Iraq in 2004
  • Jernigan stopped a downward spiral by returning to college
  • In his book, "Vision," Jernigan discusses finding strength in adversity

Retired Marine Michael Jernigan was serving in Iraq in 2004 when he was severely injured by a roadside bomb.

“I had shrapnel enter my right eye and exit my left eye,“ Jernigan said. “I had two fingers re-attached. My right hand was fully reconstructed. My left knee was fully reconstructed. I fractured my patellar and cut my femoral artery.”

After 30 surgeries, Jernigan’s physical recovery was nothing short of remarkable. But he said his mind went to a very dark place.

“I was a Marine without a mission," said Jernigan. "Without a mission, I had no purpose or sense of direction. So my goal at that point was to find a mission.  And I realized at that point, I needed to go back to college.”

Jernigan went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in history from University of South Florida St. Petersburg in 2012. He now works as a motivational speaker for Southeastern Guide Dogs.

“It was a confidence booster that made me realize I had no limitations,” Jernigan said.

Jernigan shares his story in a new book, “Vision,” released on Memorial Day at the Armed Forces History Museum in Largo. In it, Jernigan discusses how he found strength in the face of adversity, and also gives readers advice on how to do so in their own lives.

“You can change it. You can move forward,” Jernigan said. “And you can reach a point where you become happy with where you are at again.”

Jernigan will be signing copies of his book on Wednesday, June 8, at American Legion Post 14 in St. Petersburg.

For your own copy of the book, visit his website, michaeljerniganmotivates.com.