David Lindsey ‘s military career was over before it started.
The 26-year-old U.S. Army veteran and Centennial Hills resident said he would have been a military lifer had a blood clot in his knee not sidelined him in 2010 .
To add insult to injury, the clot formed while Lindsey was getting his wisdom teeth removed.
“I don’t know if it was the way I was laying down, but the clot traveled to my knee,” he said. “They told me it happens in one out of every 250,000 cases.”
Lindsey was placed on medical discharge. Now susceptible to blood clots, Lindsey was told that his future in the military would be behind a desk.
“I was rendered useless,” he said. “So I got out.”
Now, he is like many military service men and women coping with life out of combat boots.
The Las Vegas native has been filling his time saving to buy a house and working as an apprentice electrician .
“I’d love to work at a military-issued job, because I love it,” he said. “I love helping people.”
Lindsey enlisted in 2009, trained to be a mechanic and hoped to rise through the ranks as a career serviceman.
“I wanted to go to Afghanistan and send someone else home,” he said.
The U.S. Army required Lindsey to have his wisdom teeth removed before he could be eligible to deploy.
The blood clot was just the beginning of his worries. Scar tissue formed around his knee and he was confined to a wheelchair for four months. He developed sleep issues.
While on crutches for six months, Lindsey was hit by a car.
His left knee took the brunt of the blow, he said.
“The left side of my body is so messed up right now,” he said. “It sucks.”
The idea of a desk job was a turnoff for Lindsey, he said.
“It kind of defeated the purpose (of why I enlisted),” he said. “The sergeants on base were extra helpful to make me feel like I wasn’t an outcast. I saw classes come and go, and I was stuck.”
Although he was discharged, Lindsey said he will receive veterans’ benefits.
Lindsey’s future health care needs could be met at a new, state-of-the-art facility in nearby North Las Vegas .
The $600 million Veterans Affairs Medical Center , 6900 N. Pecos Road , is on track to open in late summer. The 1.3 million -square-foot complex is to host 210 beds and facilitate intensive care, surgeries, mental health and extended-care for patients and add about 2,000 jobs.
The Veterans Administration has about 20 clinic-style locations that dot the valley, including the VA Northwest Primary Care Clinic, which opened last fall at Alexander Road and Rancho Drive .
It was the first of four clinics of its kind to open in the valley and provide primary care and mental health services under one roof for veterans.
The hospital medical center, dubbed the centerpiece of the VA health care system, is to be its first hospital built in Clark Count y since the early 1990s .
About 45,000 Southern Nevada veterans are aided by the VA, officials said.
Although Lindsey doesn’t foresee re-enlistment in his future, his technical training won’t be for nought.
Lindsey attended a Free Employment Edge Workshop in January to scout job options. Private sector employers and experts gathered to help veterans land employment.
John Lundberg coordinates the workshops in 33 cities around the country to aid service men and women who return home in a time when joblessness is common.
“Somebody who may have joined the military four years ago, they come back now, and Las Vegas is not so fruitful,” he said. “We’re in a bowl, OK? It’s knowing where to go. It’s knowing how their skill sets lined up when what employers are looking for. The biggest challenge they have its being able to articulate how those (military skills) translate.”
Lundberg said veterans often wow employers.
“They go, ‘Oh, my goodness, this is one a really great bunch of people,’ ” he said. “We hear it all the time: quality, quality, quality. ‘This is the highest quality of individuals I’ve ever had the opportunity to seen.’ ”
Son of a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Lindsey said the military is in his blood.
“I don’t think it’s something that will ever leave me,” he said. “I miss it.”
Summerlin and Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan contributed to this report. Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter Maggie Lillis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 477-3839 or Jan Hogan at email@example.com or 387-2949.