Wounded Army officer has last ball thrown by Favre

March 5, 2008

I love this story as it ties a real American Hero with Football!(I really have tried to overcome my love of the game. But, I am a junkie.)Our thanks go out to Lt.Col Gadson and his family for their sacrifices for our country.

Associated Press – March 4, 2008 

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – The ball that Brett Farve threw on his last play in the NFL is owned by an Army officer who lost both legs in a roadside bomb in Iraq.

Lt. Col. Greg Gadson, who has been an inspirational figure for the New York Giants during their Super Bowl run, was given the ball by Corey Webster after the cornerback intercepted Favre’s pass in overtime in the NFC title game on Jan. 20.

The pick set up a game-winning 47-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes in a 23-20 win that sent the Giants to Phoenix, where they beat the New England Patriots 17-14.

“That Saturday practice before the Super Bowl, I told Corey he could have the ball back,” Gadson said in quotes provided by the Giants after Favre announced his retirement on Tuesday after 17 seasons.

“I said, ‘Just let me know and you can have it back,’ but he told me that he wanted me to keep it, and that really symbolized to me what this Giants team was about,” Gadson said. “That was such an unselfish act.”

As a fan, Gadson said he is going to miss watching Favre play.

“He should be proud of the run he had last season. Getting his team to the championship game just shows what type of competitor he is,” Gadson said.

A 1989 graduate of West Point, Gadson played football for the Cadets along with Mike Sullivan, the Giants’ receivers coach.

After Gadson was wounded in an attack on his convoy on May 7 and eventually lost both his legs, Sullivan told coach Tom Coughlin about his friend.

After losing their first two games of the season, Coughlin had Gadson address the team in Washington before a game with the Redskins. His message was to concentrate on the mission, never give up and believe in each other.

The Giants won the game and turned their season around. Gadson was on the sidelines for most of the playoffs and he addressed the team the night before the Super Bowl, speaking of “pride, poise, team and belief in each other,” according to Pat Hanlon, a team spokesman.


Wednesday Hero

December 19, 2007

This Weeks Hero Was Suggested By Leo

SSgt. Mike Mills

SSgt. Mike Mills

On June 14, 2005 SSgt. Mike Mills’s life was forever changed. The HETT(Heavy Equipment Transport System) he was riding in was hit by an IED. The attack resulted a cracked clavicle and scapula bones, dislocate shoulder, broken left hip, 4 out of 5 bones broken in his foot and being set on fire. The driver in the truck behind him ran with a cooler of melted ice which he threw on Sgt. Mills to put him out. He spent three months in the Brooks Army Medical Center at Ft. Sam Houston, TX with the injuries listed above plus 2nd, 3rd and deep tissue burns to 31% of the left side of his body. The first thing he remembers thinking after the attack was that his soldiers needed him and he needed to get back to them.

“Then the guilt set in about what I did to my family. I’ve totally screwed that up. Look at me, no don’t. I look hideous. How can I face my kids looking like this. They’ll be embarrassed to be seen with me. What if they won’t love me anymore? Speaking of love, my wife, oh my god. How can I expect her to stay with me. I’m not a man anymore. She’s not going to want be intimate with a freak. What if I can’t work, how do I support myself, my family.

I had the nightmares and couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t eating and was loosing weight. I didn’t really care. If I didn’t start eating, they where going to put the feeding tube back in. Who cares, I’ve totally screwed up my life anyways.”

But he found out just how much is wife loved him, when she stood by his side throughout the entire ordeal. She was there for every wound dressing and even learned how to change the dressings herself.

SSgt. Mike Mills now runs the site For The Veteran… By A Veteran in which he helps veterans, soldiers and their families find information they may not have been given after their medical discharge or retirement.

Some may say that Mike gave his country more than enough when he was severely maimed by an IED on that fateful day of June 14, 2005, but Mike continues to give to his fellow servicemen, as well as to his nation!

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your blog, you can go here.

Heroes Overcoming Obstacles

November 29, 2007

Limits are placed on us by Science, by Medicine, by our Parents, by our Teachers, and by our Peers. We are told that we can only go so far. Perhaps they are trying to force us to face facts. Perhaps they are trying to help us… Or perhaps they are clueless as to the inner strengths that guide each individual, pushing us to unbelievable feats.

My brother, born with birth defects was told he would never walk. He is now running marathons.

Jim Abbott, who pitched for 9 years in Major League Baseball, was born with only one hand.

… And the two Heroes listed below ~


Charlotte (N.C.) News & Observer
Nov. 20, 2007

Injured Marine cited as leader
By Jay Price

Three years ago this week, Lt. Col. Tim Maxwell was discharged from the hospital, wondering how much he was going to recover from a major head injury he suffered when a mortar shell landed on his tent in Iraq.

Now Esquire magazine is honoring the Marine as one of the “Best and Brightest of 2007” in its December issue, which appears on newsstands today.

The accompanying article isn’t just about Maxwell, who has become a legend at Camp Lejeune. It also offers a raw, R-rated glimpse of life inside the Wounded Warrior Barracks on the Marine base near Jacksonville.

Maxwell, 42, helped start the barracks after he was wounded. One day, after being released from the hospital and returning to Lejeune to recuperate, the former triathlete came upon a Marine who had been wounded and sent home.

The young man was alone and crying.That shouldn’t happen, Maxwell said, and he and Master Sgt. Ken Barnes started lobbying Marine leaders for housing so the wounded Marines could live together while they recovered in a supportive environment.

Concept expands

After they got the barracks started at Lejeune — it’s called Maxwell Hall– the concept spread to the West Coast, where the Marines at Camp Pendleton set up similar housing. Then this past spring, the Corps decided to start a nationwide wounded-warrior regiment, so that injured Marines would have a supportive unit around them.

The idea even spread to the Army, which has begun its own wounded-troops unit. Maxwell recently took an assignment as an adviser to the Wounded Warrior Regiment at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. 

Among other duties, he’s the officer in charge of the regiment’s new call center, which opens this week. The center will take calls from wounded Marines and try to find solutions to their problems, Maxwell said.  It also will begin an effort to contact every Marine who has been injured since Sept. 11, 2001, in combat or otherwise, to see if he or she needs help of any kind.

The story in Esquire also includes Maxwell’s wife, Shannon, who has dedicated much of her own life to helping wounded troops. She founded a support group at Lejeune for the spouses of wounded Marines and was a co-founder of Hope for the Warriors, a nonprofit organization that raises money for the wounded. Last week, she won an honor for her work from the National Military Family Association. ‘I don’t know why…’

The Esquire story also details the lives of the young Marines living in the barracks.  Maxwell said that he could have done without the sexual references but that the attention would help his cause.“I’ll take credit from anybody to put the word out,” said Maxwell, who still stumbles over his words sometimes.

“There are still guys out there who don’t know anything about this, and they’re just sitting there alone. “Reporters will call and want to do a Maxwell story because I’m the most well-known,” he said. “We get ’em out to the barracks, and they cry when they leave. It really gets them.”

Maxwell said he was a little bewildered that he had been picked by the magazine. “Esquire had this dinner up in New York last week, and I don’t know why I was a part of it,” he said. “They had all these geniuses there, people who had invented important stuff. “I just figured Marines ought to hang out together,” he said. “That’s not genius stuff.”

Well, Lt. Col Maxwell I disagree with you. What you are doing places you above “Genius Stuff.”
Not to take anything away from Lt Col Maxwell, I would like to point out a new friend, Craig J. Phillips.Craig is also a survivor and a hero!  While overcoming great obstacles, he is reaching out and helping others.

Second Chance to Live  <– Please take some time and read about this wonderful man. He has succeeded in a world that decided his disabilty should limit him.  I will share the comments that Craig left for me: I am interested in providing encouragement to our veterans and the soldiers who have been wounded while protecting our great country. Additionally, I am interested in providing practical information and insight to assist their families.

My name is Craig J. Phillips. I am a traumatic brain injury survivor and a master’s level rehabilitation counselor. I sustained an open skull fracture with right frontal lobe damage and remained in a coma for 3 weeks at the age of 10 in August of 1967.

I underwent brain and skull surgery after waking from the coma. Follow-up cognitive and psyche-social testing revealed that I would not be able to succeed beyond high school. In 1967 Neurological Rehabilitation was not available to me, so I had to teach myself how to walk, talk, read, write and speak in complete sentences. I completed high school on time and went on to obtain both my undergraduate and graduate degrees.

For an in depth view of my process please read my post, My Journey Thus Far Through out my lifetime I developed strategies to overcome many obstacles and in so doing I have achieved far beyond all reasonable expectations.

On February 6, 2007 at the encouragement of a friend I created Second Chance to Live.Second Chance to Live, which is located at Second Chance to Live presents topics in such a way to encourage, motivate and empower the reader to live life on life’s terms.

I believe our circumstances are not meant to keep us down, but to build us up. As a traumatic brain injury survivor, I speak from my experience, strength and hope. As a professional, I provide information to encourage, motivate and empower both disabled and non-disabled individuals to not give up on their process. Please read my post, The Power of Identification My interest is to provide encouragement, hope, motivation and empowerment to veterans and their families.

Thank you for your time and kindness.
Have a simply phenomenal day!
Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA
Second Chance to Live

Our circumstances are not meant to keep us down, but to build us up!

I believe peoples paths cross for a reason and that Craig stumbling onto my web site was no accident. Please pass on his links to those who are searching for help with Brain Trama. Having not only survived, but pushing to excel in life gives us a glimpse into the strengths that Craig carries. 

Two more fantastic sites to check out: Wounded Warrior Project and Life Transformed  If you have additional sites for our wounded Heroes, please post them in the comments and I will add them to my side bar.

Honoring a Hero on a Special Day

November 11, 2007

A Marine

I had just begun to know of Cannon Cargile and his wife Tami after he was wounded in Iraq. The day after he was wounded I received an email from Vince, a 101st Airborne Veteran and father of a fellow Marine, asking for prayers for Cannon and his family.

It was at this time that I began to receive glimpses of CW04 Cargile. Glimpses of Strength, Courage, and Leadership.

(from Cannon’s wife Tami)
On Saturday March 10th
Cannon was traveling in an up-armored Humvee, riding in the front passenger’s seat.  His vehicle was 4th in a convoy driving through Fallujah Proper heading to OP Shock.  As they were passing the mosque’s, Cannon saw an insurgent jump put of hiding and run towards the road carrying an RPG on his shoulder. 
The insurgent was dressed all in black and wearing a ski mask. 
Cannon yelled to his machine gunner in the turret, “RPG!  RPG!” But before the gunner could swing the turret to the right side of the vehicle, the RPG had been launched.  Cannon recalls seeing it coming at him, spiraling like a football.  He thought surely it would go over the bow, as most do since they are very inaccurate.  But this one kept coming, dipping towards him.  There was a deafening explosion.  

Cannon looked down at his arm in his lap to see it smoking and bleeding.  He thought he had lost his hand, for sure.  But he stayed with his men and yelled to them to see if they were alright.  When he found that they were OK, he let them know he was hit.  The gunner of the vehicle received shrapnel in his legs, the driver got shrapnel in his face, along with a grade 3 concussion and the two passengers in the rear of the vehicle also received concussions from the explosion. 

Fortunately Cannon had arranged for a corpsman to ride in his vehicle that day.  So, he was there to immediately treat Cannon’s injuries. He applied a tourniquet and pressure dressing to Cannon’s arm.  The Humvee was disabled by the blast so the vehicle ahead of them immediately hooked them up for a tow back to Fallujah Medical.  Cannon recalls his CO, (commanding officer) LtCol JD Martin steering and braking the disabled vehicle as they were being towed back to camp.  A miserably painful ride, which took about 25 minutes but LtCol Martin was there, doing his best to keep Cannon talking and his spirits up. 

In the months that followed, I received updates and more stories conveying a deep appreciation of Cannon’s service. My radar peeked. Who exactly is this man? I began to dig, to make phone calls and send out emails. I knew this Marine had a story (or two) that should be shared.

I received this beautiful tribute from a fellow Marine Gunner, Nick Vitale of which I will share in part:

Thank you for writing to me concerning my friend Cannon.  He is indeed a great Marine, a great husband and great dad.  The fact that that I am one of only 52 Marine Gunners (Infantry Weapons Officers) in the entire Marine Corps, is directly attributable to Cannon – also a Marine Gunner. 

… within the context of describing “Cannon the man,” that he consistently puts the needs of his family, his friends and the Marine Corps above his own personal needs. He is tireless in his professional efforts to ensure that the implied and specified duties of his job are carried out. This of course translates into multiple combat tours spanning 25+ years, decorations for valor, countless hours away from his family and unimaginable, self and institutional induced stress. Through it all he has managed to “crack the code” so to speak on maintaining his humanity, humor and dignity. 

Countless Marines, of all ranks and jobs, are alive today because of his technical and tactical competence, his warrior ethos, his dedication and his love of Corps and County. Besides my immediate family there are not many people who I would willingly take a bullet for – Cannon Cargile is one of those people.

and Nick’s kind words for Cannon’s wife Tami:

I have been in the Marine Corps over 22 years and I have never seen a more supportive, informed and savvy military wife than Tami.  This is all the more interesting because she is by no means a “camp follower” or a “text book” military spouse.  She is supportive of him without being sucked into the maelstrom of officially “key volunteering” but is always ready to assist anyone who needs help. (Additionally, she does a great job of ensuring that the stress of work does not follow Cannon home.)
Her almost daily updates on his condition, disposition and prognosis often leave me baffled and running to a dictionary to figure out what she is saying.  Not many wives’ would be able to force doctors and nurses to conduct tests and procedures that they did not feel were warranted.
Furthermore, her demeanor and formal nurse training allows her to do many non-traditional “things” such as change bloody bandages, argue with staffers about pain management and coordinate the logistical concerns for a never ending stream of well-wishers and other visitors.  I do not think she has had a decent nights sleep (or a sleep of longer than four hours) since Cannon was wounded. She is an amazing lady.

The deep pride and love that those around him have for Cannon is evident. The fact that not one person will give a “personable” story, just amplifies my feelings that they want to ensure nothing is printed that would make Cannon appear anything but the excellent Marine he is.  

Every single Marine I have emailed say basically the same two things:

“He is an elite Marine.”


“Besides my immediate family there are not many people who I would willingly take a bullet for – Cannon Cargile is one of those people.”

Something deep down keeps telling me that this is a very special man and deserves to be represented with nothing but the best in my writing. I have held onto this post for quite some time now. Hoping for a moment of brilliance to give Cannon proper recognition for all he has accomplished.

The simple description is perhaps the best;

CW04 Cannon Cargile is a Marine in every sense of the word.

God Bless the Cargile family

 Pictured above: Cannon, Sec. Rice, His wife Tami on the far right 

Today, I cannot think of a better person to honor.

Sir you make us all proud of those, such as yourself, who put on the uniform and step up and serve for each and every one of us.

Asking for your help

August 15, 2007

My friends Wendy and Sherri are active in the America’s Wounded Heroes Foundation and are asking for your help..no, not a donation although a donation will be welcomed because donations are sorely needed to keep this worthwhile organization functioning. But there is something else you can do..I have and ask you to do the same.

Go to VAJOE.COM and cast your vote for AMERICA’S WOUNDED HEROES!.

VAJoe Charity for Charities
Donation Amount Doubled to $4,000
Twice as Many Winning Charities—Now 10 Winners
Two thousand votes during week one of Charity for Charities! And now the VA Mortgage Center is helping VAJoe give twice as many military charities a chance to win twice as much in donations. VAJoe and the VA Mortgage Center will donate $4,000 (up from $2,000) to 10 military charities (up from 5), thanks to a matching contribution from the VA Mortgage Center. Vote August 5—20. The charities with the most votes win.

It only takes a minute to set up an acount. It is painless. I promise! But hurry. Your vote needs to be made by the 20th of August!

Thanks guys, you are the best.

Honoring The Wounded Warriors

June 28, 2007

Today as I participate in the RVF, there is a special couple I would like to honor; Colleen and SSG Terry T. Saffron, Jr.

SSG Saffron was severely injured in combat during his deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on May 5, 2004.

Colleen has, since the date of her husband’s injury, managed to care for him and her 3 children while also returning to school to graduate with honors. Recently, along with 2 other active duty spouses Kimberly Marrero and Tania Mercurio, Colleen has begun a non profit organization to help wounded soldiers and their caregivers.

Because I am fairly new to the fantastic work they are accomplishing, I have decided to copy and share quips from their website:

The mission of  Life Transformed is to provide education and resources to our war wounded and their caregivers through private and corporate entities. To increase awareness of the long term needs of these families and support them as they re-enter the civilian sector.

They provide training and education to war  wounded and care givers, allowing an easier transition, both physically and mentally into the workforce.

Caregivers and wounded warriors will be trained and credited for positions as soon as they are able to re-enter the workforce. We hope to build Life Transformed into a foundation that encourages private and public sectors to actively participate in the transformation of a wounded warrior and his family to a civilian professional.

“Through kind donations from corporate companies, we are PROUD to announce that TEN War Wounded or Fallen Soldier families will benefit from a wonderful pilot program. 

Corporation’s are offering an opportunity for the family members to own their own Travel Website business at absolutely “no cost” to the family ever! $100% of commissions made go to directly to the family recipient, no hosting or domain fees. The family will receive full technical support access at all times to help them succeed.”

Read more here… Congratulations Ten Families! 

Hugs out to the Saffron family, who when faced with adversity, took a giant leap. They went beyond what was ever asked of themselves and reached out to others in need. Let’s get the word out. There are many Wounded Warriors who need our help.

I particularly love this quote on their website:

“Walking the road with our heroes, when they cannot walk alone.”

An added note from Colleen:

Our 501c3 status should be cleared very soon and by the end of the year we can hand statements out so people get tax deductions for any giving they do.  So pray with us for the endeavor to get funded well so we can keep helping people. We started in March and so far 10 families have received web based businesses and 1 family has received a computer with all the special software they need since their injury created a severe visual impairment.

And of course… Hugs to my fantastic L’il Trooper and the 4-9 Cav!