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Brian and Dan
CPL Stengel’s Vehicle

BJ Ganem

BJ Ganem BJ Ganem
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 such as, a scout for 2nd Light Armor Reconnaissance and Infantry Skills Instructor at OCS, to name two. At the end of his first enlistment BJ decided to leave active duty but stayed in the ready reserves by joining with Gulf Co 2nd BN 24th Marines located in Madison, WI in 2000. At the same time BJ began his career with Kraft Foods as a Sales Associate while simultaneously finishing his undergraduate degree. BJ was promoted rapidly in the Kraft and was a District Sales Manager when his unit was called to serve. In May 2004 Golf 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 and had 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, and he currently receives his ongoing care at the Madison VA Hospital. BJ was medically retired from the Marine Corps on October 29, 2005 and resumed his position at Kraft as a Sales Manager and began his long transition back into “normal” life. Throughout the next few years BJ would face many challenges as he tried to find his place back home and cope with his injuries and his emotions. In 2007 things were seemingly at there lowest as he was going through a divorce, having to file bankruptcy, and feeling as if his life was falling apart. It was during this time that BJ began to be more involved with organizations like the Semper Fi Fund and through their programs, the programs of other non profits, the VA, and support from the Marine Corps and his family, BJ’s life began to turn around. In 2010 BJ completed a Soldier Ride with the Wounded Warrior Project from Madison, WI to Chicago, IL on a hand cycle. In that same year BJ completed the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC on a hand cycle in a time of 3 hours and 10 minutes. In 2011 BJ decided to leave Kraft Foods after a career of ten years, to turn his passion of helping other veterans into his career and he became the Dane County Veteran Service Officer. In this role BJ worked with numerous veterans from all eras as they navigated the, often overwhelming, world of the VA and veterans benefits. In 2013 BJ left Dane County in order to help the Semper Fi Fund start a new program called the Veteran 2 Veteran program, where V2V Leads, such as BJ, will work to help service members understand and gain access to various programs as VA Health Care, Tri-Care, VA Education Benefits, and a wide variety of community and non profit programs that offer opportunities for these Service Members to enrich their lives.

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. BJ graduated from Saint Leo University in 2012 with a BS in Psychology and is currently enrolled at USC’s School of Social Work where is working to graduate in 2015 with a Master’s in Social Work with an emphasis on military life.