Monday, August 29, 2011

A Wondrous Evening at the Aquarium Celebrating our Heroes!

It was a rare privilege to meet several of our wounded heroes who will be receiving homes and hear their incredible stories. I was totally mesmerized by what they had to say. Seeing their families and loved ones was so touching. One never imagines just how great the sacrifices are that these young men and women are making to preserve peace and democracy in the world. No matter how severe their injuries are, they are ready to serve again. Though having been previously wounded, Sergeant Marty Gonzalez told his parents a white lie that he was called up again and signed on for yet another tour. He has had 9+ surgeries to fix a second set of injuries. That was the commitment that I witnessed last evening.

Then, the very poignant Sergeant Rick Yarosh who was burned over 70% of his body told us how he had wanted to die and didn’t think he could face the world. It was his two friends, who he called angels who had lost their lives, that came back and talked to him giving him the courage to move forward. Would you believe this hero, Rick Yarosh has had over 110 surgeries.

Their stories are miracles where these heroes have battled-back from near fatal injuries and endure so much on their road to recovery. SPC Jack Zimmerman, who used to play football, basketball, hunt, train dogs, joined the military because it was something he always wanted to do. It was part of his family’s tradition. He stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost both of his legs. He is a bilateral above the amputee. To meet he and his wife Megan you’d never imagine what he has gone through and how he looks forward to resuming a normal life. His best pal, SGT Jack Williams is another example of someone who has suffered horrific injuries being the first to step on an IED and not one of the other soldier under his leadership. I smile when he says, “I can do almost anything on my own, except shower.” Think about it the next time you take a shower.

Another fantastic couple, SGT Brian Mast and his wife Brianna, who have a seventeen month old son and are expecting their second child in April, is a bilateral above the knee amputee but you would never know it by talking to him. He will be getting a home in West Palm Beach where he remember fun times with his family and looks forward to a bright future

These are the moments in our lives that make us appreciate what is really important and the homes they will be receiving will mean so much.

Have a great day and stay patriotic!



1 comment:

  1. Carolyn,

    I wanted to thank you for ALL you do for our veterans and express what an honor it was to have met you this week. You may remember me and my husband, SSG Shannon, who was shot in the head in Iraq and one of the guests at this year's event. I consider you a true angel to put your passion, talents and dedication toward our "family" of wounded veterans. Bless you for everything! I hope to see you again some day. Many blessings to you...