NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — This Father's Day, and others in the past hold special meaning for a US Army veteran in New Braunfels.
Daniel Carlton spent 15 and a half years in the US Army, but after an injury sent him to San Antonio for recovery, he says a non-profit military group was key in helping him recover from the injury and ensuring that quality time with his family wasn't lost.
It's always a busy time in the Carlton house, but Daniel and his wife Juanita, who met while in the Army, enjoy sitting down and enjoying a game of dominos with their eight children.
"It's been wonderful to support Dan's military career, but its even more wonderful to see him with the children," Juanita Carlton said.
The two met while Dan was in Juanita's platoon at Fort Bragg, NC. As the two grew their family, Dan enjoys the time at home compared to the active duty lifestyle.
"I was never home, so I was like the fun dad. I'd come home, it was like a vacation, we just have a great time together and then I was gone and that was kind of our life together. But being home now gives me a lot of opportunities," Carlton said.
Life changed during what would be Carlton's last deployment in Afghanistan.
"November of 2012, I was on patrol in southern Kandahar and lost my leg to an IED, just dismounted patrol, just took my leg off right there," Carlton said.
He started his recovery at Brooke Army Medical Center.
He and his family connected with the Semper Fi & America's Fund, which provides support to wounded service members and their families.
"[They] were literally with us every step of the way," he said.
"For them to come in, provide their school supplies like backpacks and set them on their way, like, things we weren't even thinking about," he added.
Post-injury, Dan likes to enjoy baseball, hunting, fishing, and has a special relationship with each of his children.
"He spends more quality time with each of the kids. I think we value him and his time and we like to spend time together and we really enjoy having him around," Juanita Carlton said.
Dan also wants to share a message to other dads.
"Just lean on your family for strength and for encouragement and for guidance and love. And, don't be afraid to reach out to the people in your community, in that circle that you have close or dear relationships with because you're not alone," he said.
"Enjoy the little things...things change so fast. So it's the time we should be spending together and enjoying with each other as much as we can," Dan said.