Country star Tim McGraw offers veteran new home, fresh start
The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colo.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Something, it seems, always kept Jesse Bowser, 37, from going to college.
There were overseas deployments — a common issue while serving with the Marines, Navy and the Army National Guard. The last deployment left him in a hospital, reeling from head, back and shoulder injuries.
And, Bowser said, he never really had a place where he felt at home.
That should change this fall.
The La Junta native expects to soon move to Colorado Springs, where he’ll settle into a home donated, in part, by country star Tim McGraw.
The home is one of 25 that McGraw plans to give away this year during his Brothers of the Sun tour with Kenny Chesney. The program, which is also being organized by Operation Homefront and JPMorgan Chase & Co., aims to help wounded servicemembers.
McGraw reiterated the promise on Saturday during his concert at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Bowser and McGraw talked before the show and exchanged a hug.
“He’s a lot more laid back than I thought he’d be,” Bowser said. “It seemed like he’s a bit of a prankster, and just upbeat. It’s weird when you see somebody like that.”
As the show began, Bowser walked with McGraw to the stage and watched in disbelief as the country star pointed him out during the concert, he said.
“That was awesome. It was weird but it was awesome,” Bowser said. “There’s so many other people out there that do so much on a daily basis and don’t get recognized. Kind of makes me think about that.”
The house should mark a new chapter in Bowser’s life after spending years recovering from an injury suffered while deployed in Iraq.
Bowser, a former staff sergeant with the New Mexico Army National Guard, injured his head, back and shoulder when he fell off of a vehicle while deployed in October 2009. He’s since undergone several surgeries and has been recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
Medically retired in May, Bowser plans to attend Regis University and wants to be a preacher — one who would reach out to soldiers, ranchers and cowboys — a nod to his days spent riding bulls.
He’ll do so without the stress of a mortgage payment — one less thing to get in the way of his dreams of getting a degree.
“I don’t know words can be found for a lot of the kindness,” Bowser said.