This was an e-mail that I (and others) recieved from a good friend. As you wil read we were together and will always be bonded in blood.
I am posting his message in the hopes of bringing knowledge and support to the endeavors of fellow vetrans. This was a huge reason that I agreed to post this blog, and hopefully there will continue to be enough readers to help us make a difference, anyway here is his message.
Dear Friends and Family,
Some of you know well my story of the past year and perhaps personally shared in some of the challenges Gayle and I have endured. To some of you, this email may be a bit of a surprise.
A year ago today , while operating in Al Hillah, Iraq embedded with the Iraqi Army, a roadside bomb ripped through the left rear of my HMMWV. The explosively formed penetrator shattered the legs of my Fire Support NCO, SFC Josh Ferguson, sliced through the calf of my gunner, SPC Matt Sanders, and tore through my left arm before blowing open the right door of the vehicle. Shrapnel laced through our bodies, striking my driver, SPC Cody Schneider in the back, bloodying the face of my interpreter, “Sean”, a local Iraqi national, and striking my head and side. We all survived because the rest of my men did everything right; they secured the ambush site, rendered immediate aid, got the medevac in and detained several persons of interest.
Despite our survival, life has changed for us all, in both mind and body. We are casualties of war. I bear this title proudly. I have no regrets and I have no anger at the enemy or frustration with the war. I know we’ve made a difference and I accept my sacrifices willingly.
But I also will not accept my wounds as a reason to forego my dreams. My arm may no longer performs as it once did, but my spirit will overcome that obstacle. I had promised my wife many years ago that we would find a way to climb Denali. This wasn’t quite the method I had intended, but perhaps someone up there had a plan all along. Its been a tough year for us both and its time to turn misfortune into opportunity, but not just for me.
I intend to climb Denali next June in the company of likeminded Wounded Warriors. It wouldn’t be an easy task if we our bodies were fully intact, so I’m anticipating this climb to have a few challenges in wait for us.
What I need is your help…whether it’s a modest donation to the Team fund, lending a piece of gear, passing this story on to a friend who knows a friend who is a part owner of REI, or purely by lending moral support to the Team I hope to assemble, I’m asking for your help.
Please take some time to read over this website detailing our mission:
I’m not a web guru (i.e. if its broke, let me know!), so I hope it paints the picture of Operation Denali adequately. It also details how you can help support the climb.
If you have questions or ideas about the climb, please contact me. With luck, some good weather, and a good year of rehabilitating our wounds and training for the climb, hopefully, with your assistance, we’ll be looking down at you from the top of North America next June!
Major, US Army
If anyone wishes to lend any support, please contact me here, and I will speak with Marc. I just didn't want to post his e-mail or phone number here.
As Will Rogers used to say, "Happy trails until we meet again...."