He had five brothers and as he described himself, he was the only rebel in the family. He later became a Combat Engineer in the U.S. Marines. Tim Lee later found himself in the heat of South Vietnam.
Lee was raised in a Christian family and thought his life was in order, but he said he went to Vietnam out of the reach of God. 45-Minutes into walking a mind field on what is called a mind sweep in Vietnam he was blown about several feet into the air losing both legs. Another Marine told him that it looked as if someone dumped a 5 gallon bucket of red paint on him while discussing his injuries. In fact, it was thought he was dead.
Lee writes, “There was much confusion. One man, Corporal Lee Gore, knelt down and picked me up in his arms and braced my back on his knees. He began to pray out loud. I was shaking terribly and literally covered in my own blood. The smoke and dust from the blast was still thick in the air. Men began to shed their t-shirts to help soak the blood flowing profusely from my wounds. Some gave their personal bandages. The Corpsman began working feverishly applying tourniquets to my upper thighs to stop the blood flow. In a weak, barely audible voice I prayed, “Oh no! … God, not my legs … Lord … please … God get me home to Mom and Dad …I’ll do whatever you want me to do.” Then, total blackness. I went out. Yellow smoke from the marking grenades to help guide the in-coming choppers billowed upward. I remember hearing the faint sounds of the whirling blades as they raised ten tons of steel into the air. Myself and a South Korean Marine, who had lost a foot in a separate explosion, left a violent world below. We were flown to the hospital ship USS Sanctuary in the South China Sea. From there I was taken to Guam.”
Lee stated, “God spared my life.” Someone once told Lee, “You never lived until you almost died.” From the day Lee left the hospital in the early 1970’s, he still holds onto that saying.
In high school, Lee ran track and he was also on the football team. His new life would include wheels and no running. However, he decided while hospitalized that despite his ability to ever make another touchdown, he was going to lead a positive life. Lee said that he got back on track with God and eventually became a pastor in 1973.