Firefighter Injured In The Line of Duty Is Still Struggling

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JACKSONVILLE, AR — The family of a Jacksonville firefighter — injured in the line of duty — says state assistance has been hard to come by.

Firefighter Jason Bowmaster was working an accident in Jacksonville — on March of 2012 — when a car crashed into him. His life has never been the same since then. Along with the physical and emotional pains, Bowmaster and his family also struggle financially.

The list of his injuries he suffers from is extensive, everything from a collapsed lung to his pelvis broken in half.

He said, “We still think about it daily. I lost my captain that day and I miss him every day.”

A car crashed into Bowmaster and two others, killing his captain instantly. It nearly took his life too.

His wife, Ashley Bowmaster, said, “I didn’t even know if my husband was going to live or die at that point.”

Months and months of recovery would follow, but still Bowmaster isn’t the same. His doctors say he’ll never be able to work again. Before the crash, he held two jobs. Now, his income’s cut to 65% of his firefighting salary. The state didn’t offer much help either.

Ashley Bowmaster said, “The state claims commission only offers you $10,000 if you’re injured in the line of duty. I think that’s ridiculous. I really do.”

The family says they live month to month, sometimes not knowing if they’ll be able to pay their mortgage or put food on the table.

Ashley said, “Thanks to a couple in our church I was able to go to the grocery store. I haven’t been to the grocery store in over two and half months and that was really a blessing.”

Ashley is also working with state leaders to try and get more compensation for injured firefighters and officers, but it’s been an uphill battle. For now though, they’ll look for support in other areas, relying on their faith to keep them going.

Jason Bowmaster said, “I often wonder how we made it, but I just know it’s God, there’s no other explanation for it.”

Workers comp did pay for Bowmaster’s medical bills and provided some other assistance as well.

His wife, Ashley, is going to school. She’ll graduate soon and her income will certainly help, but it’s been a big struggle these past few years.

As for the driver of the car that hit Bowmaster, Bryce Allen, he was sentenced to 70 years in prison. However, his attorney recently filed an appeal in the case.

To help the Bowmaster family, you can click here.

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