IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – From an early age, Joey says he knew what he wanted to do in life.
“I knew my destiny or that I was destined to help other people,” he said.
Joey proudly served in the U.S. Army for six years.
Now, he has a new calling. “To be able to help child victims, there’s nothing more important in my mind than that.”
Joey now works with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations agents to identify predators and victims of child sexual exploitation.
Because of that he doesn’t want to reveal his last name.
Joey is now one of 22 wounded warriors from across the country, working in a special program called the Human Exploitation Rescue Operative or HERO Corps program.
The program was established in 2013 by ICE, the Department of Defense’s U.S. Special Operations Command, and the National Association to Protect Children or PROTECT.
He lost both of his legs, and his right arm below his elbow during the Iraq War in 2004. “I was in the passenger side of my HUMVEE and we rolled over an IED, and it exploded into the floor board of the passenger side ejecting the two other personnel out and keeping myself trapped inside to absorb the blast.”
In the two weeks he’s been at Homeland Security Investigations’ Irving office, Joey has inspired his co-workers.
Despite his injuries and all of the surgeries, Joey says he never once felt hopeless. “No one really knows, I didn’t know until I was challenged and I didn’t know how I was going to come out the other side just absolutely did the best job that I could.”
Joey medically retired from the Army in 2006. He went into the corporate world, and quickly realized he hated it. So when he heard about the HERO program, he knew this was for him. “The opportunity that it allows me to continue a mission which is very close to my heart which is serving my country.”
Last year, Homeland Security Investigations arrested more than 2,300 child predators in cases of online sexual exploitation of children.
Since 2003, the agency arrested more than 10,000 individuals.
After receiving an intense, nearly year-long training in computer forensics, child exploitation, and prosecutions, Joey is able to help solve child sexual exploitations, and at the same time help children who were never destined to become victims, reach their destiny in life. “I see a little bit of myself in them and wanting to help them, helps me as well.”
To report any suspicious activity involving predators and victims of child sexual exploitation, you can call Homeland Security Investigations at 866-347-2423.
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