BRADENTON -- Three doctors told Seth Jahn he wouldn't walk again after he was injured in Afghanistan in 2010.
Jahn, a former special operations soldier, sustained a traumatic brain injury, five spinal cord injuries, three disarticulated ribs, two shoulder injuries and nerve damage, all of which contributed to six months of paralysis and two years in hospitals.
Five years later, Jahn's not just walking again. He's running, skydiving, scuba diving and playing soccer with the U.S. Paralympic National Soccer Team.
He also volunteers at Orban Nursery Inc., which will host its 25th annual drive-thru sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at 9601 Ninth Ave. NW.
A portion of sale proceeds will benefit the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, an organization Jahn said helped him during his recovery.
"When Marty, the owner of Orban's, approached me about wanting to find a charity to benefit, it was the first that came to mind," Jahn said. "They were the first one that jumped right in to help me. A lot of guys are forgotten once they're injured. You disappear in the system and who is affected most is the families."
The foundation provides college scholarships to children of fallen warriors and other financial assistance to wounded special operations soldiers and their families. Jahn's family, with a $2,500 stipend from the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, visited him in Augusta, Ga., after he was transferred from a hospital in Germany.
"I really appreciate one of their sole focuses is on the families and children of fallen special operators," Jahn said.
The foundation also provides counseling to help soldiers and family members find normalcy in daily life after military service.
Jahn's no-quit attitude, along with assistance from the foundation and other organizations with similar missions such as the Eagle Fund, Operation One Voice and the Wounded Warrior Care Project, helped him recover. Although he recovered better than doctors expected, Jahn said injuries still affect his daily life, particularly the traumatic brain injury.
"My short-term memory isn't what it used to be," Jahn said. "And I still have pain every day but it's manageable."
Jahn knows about Orban's Nursery because his girlfriend, Remy Orban, is Marty Orban's daughter. The decision to donate money to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation speaks volumes to Jahn about the family, their business and their priorities.
"To put the proceeds they make toward this organization shows where their heart is and how they want to give back to the community," Jahn said. "I think that's awesome."
Marty Orban said the once-a-year sale began 25 years ago for customers to see plants in different stages of bloom and take photographs.
"We see the beauty of them every day and wanted the public to be able to see it," Orban said.
After many requests to sell the foliage, Orban wanted to let the public buy plants without interfering with retail customers. He decided a charitable event was the answer. Over the years the sale has benefitted different charities and community groups.
Janelle O'Dea, business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095 or follow her on Twitter@jayohday.