The “new normal” for the Allen family began in January when Staff Sgt. Chaz Allen stepped on an improvised explosive device, with the blast immediately amputating both legs of the 32-year-old squad leader.“I got the call every Army wife fears,” recalled his wife, former local resident Jessica Collins Allen, recalling she was notified by phone. “That was the beginning of the new normal.”The new normal at first required Jessica to travel back and forth between the family home in Clarksville to Washington D.C., balancing care of her two small daughters, Deryn and Ryann, and support of her husband who was under care for his injuries at Walter Reed Hospital. Through help of family and friends and with the help of transport by the Wounded Warrior Foundation, the family was able to weather the logistical challenge although, adding insult to injury, Jessica noted she was once warned by school officials one of her daughters had missed more than the five days allowed by the school system.“You can’t believe how mad that made me,” Jessica admitted, noting the bout with the school system prompted her to decide to home school her daughters.The new normal has included the family moving from their longtime home in Clarksville to Washington D.C. where they can be by the side of Chaz as he continues to undergo rehabilitation and learns to adjust to using his two prosthetic legs.
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