After 14 years of service, US Army SFC (Ret.) Michael Schlitz medically retired from the United States Army in March of 2010. Throughout his military career, he served in several positions from Rifleman to Platoon Sergeant. In addition to his Purple Heart, Mike has received several other awards including Meritorious Service Medals and Army Commendation Medals, each a reflection of his proud service to our country.
On February 27, 2007, Mike and his platoon were in Southern Baghdad performing a basic road-clearing mission to identify Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s) when two artillery shells attached to a propane tank exploded. The blast killed his driver, gunner, and medic. Mike was thrown from the vehicle, sustained burns to 85% of his body, and lost both of his hands as well as the vision in his left eye.
In his mission to give back to the veteran community, Mike has regularly traveled the country for speaking engagements and events. He has returned to Iraq three times to mentor wounded and non-wounded veterans. Mike has supported the establishment of several new non-profit organizations and has had the honor of speaking at three US Army Ranger Graduations. He started volunteering with the Gary Sinise Foundation in early 2012 and was provided a R.I.S.E (Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment) specially adapted smart home in 2014. In the summer of 2017, Mike accepted a full-time position at the Gary Sinise Foundation as their Military and Veteran Resource Manager.
Mike shares in the passion and dedication to give back to veterans and first responders, a valued echoed by everyone at the Gary Sinise Foundation.