Freedom's Worth

On May 30, 2011 we are called to remember the soldiers who have selflessly fought and died for the cause of freedom.  It's also a day to honor brave men and women like Lance Cpl. Thomas Parker whose life was changed forever in the blink of an eye.   

In December, Tomy's unit was given the location of three IEDs by a local Mullah in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.  Even though four other Marines from their unit were maimed by IED blasts that week, they overcame the fear, and hiked to the area.  After successfully detonating three IED's they came under fire while searching for more.  They fought off the attackers and decided to turn back because it was getting late (it's hard to find IED's in the dark).  Tomy said "I took four steps just fine.  On the fifth step, I felt funny.  I looked down, and realized I wasn't on the ground anymore.  Then I realized it was because I didn't have legs anymore.  I said a couple of colorful words, thought, 'This is going to hurt,' and smashed into the ground."

At this point the soft tissue on his legs and fingers on his left hand were shredded beyond repair.  His eardrum was ruptured, but he still managed to hear his fellow soldiers yell, "We can't see you through the dust!"  When the dust cleared, they put tourniquets on both legs, and got gauze and pressure dressings on his hand.  Unfortunately, there was no room for a helicopter in the area, so Tomy was loaded in a truck and driven to a location were a helicopter could land.  Tomy was eventually flown to a forward operating base and sedated to relieve the unbearable pain he was suffering.  The remaining bone from his legs and left hand had to be amputated in a field hospital in Afghanistan.  His right leg was amputated at the knee, but the left leg had to be sawed off at the hip.  Tomy did not regain consciousness until he was back on US soil at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda Maryland.

Tomy Parker is now a double amputee and a lefty without fingers on his left hand.  On March 27, 2011 he attempted to take his first step with a walker and nearly tipped over before the therapist caught him.  His left hand repeatedly slipped off because he is unable to grip the walker.  After several minutes, Tomy managed to move four feet.  His face was dripping with sweat, but Tomy was still determined to go out of the room and around the hall (equivalent to running a 10k marathon without any training).  After several adjustments to the leg and arm pads he managed to round the first corner.  At this point an audience has gathered due to his therapist exclaiming, "You guys have to see this!"  He became more stable with every step and started to pick up speed.  As he was half way through the second hallway, he noticed the artwork on the walls of famous individuals who overcame adversity.  He was inspired by the portraits of athlete Babe Zaharias (cancer), President Franklin Roosevelt (polio), and physicist Albert Einstein (dyslexia) that were all painted by another wounded warrior.  Now Tomy is covered with sweat but still pushes forward until he makes it all the way around on his first day of therapy. 

Tomy understands that his job now is to recover from his wounds and learn how to live the rest of his life without his legs and it appears he is well on his way.  However, when he progresses, he says he wants to pursue shooting (right handed), plus swimming, and maybe even golf.  He says that challenges and the thought of letting down his family and friends is what drives him to recover.  It's clear that Tomy Parker understands how to make a commitment, persevere, and face adversity head-on and we should all thank God for his courage.

On May 30, 2011 we honor the fallen soldier, their families, and the men and women like Tomy Parker who sacrificed their way of lives to protect ours.  Courageous acts of this magnitude are not carried out by men and women who question Freedom's worth.  They are done by individuals who honor the brave men and women who were willing to sacrifice everything to create a society free of tyranny.  They are done by men and women of character, who believe that Freedom's worth is more valuable than their own.  Stories like these inspire many of us to take a look inside ourselves and wonder, "Could I be that brave?", "Would I be willing to give my life or my limbs?"  But, it's not about what you would do if you were in their shoes.  It's about what you are willing to do in the "here and now."

On November 2, 2012, our country will go to the polls to elect the next President of the United States.  On that day, will you be able to say that you went above the call of duty or will you wonder?  This election cycle is an opportunity for all of us to show the world that even average everyday Americans still believe in Freedom.  There is no better way to honor our fallen soldiers and thousands of other men and women in uniform with stories like Tomy Parker's than through selfless acts of our own.

Matthew Council blogs at RhinosBeGone.  His personal page is MatthewRossCouncil.com.

Quotations drawn from:

Wounded Marine Tomy Parker begins grueling process of walking again - By VINCE DEVLIN of the Missoulian RavalliRepublic.com | Posted: Sunday, March 27, 2011
Modern warfare's lifesaving techniques give Ronan's Tomy Parker a fighting chance - By VINCE DEVLIN of the Missoulian missoulian.com | Posted: Saturday, January 15, 201
On May 30, 2011 we are called to remember the soldiers who have selflessly fought and died for the cause of freedom.  It's also a day to honor brave men and women like Lance Cpl. Thomas Parker whose life was changed forever in the blink of an eye.   

In December, Tomy's unit was given the location of three IEDs by a local Mullah in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.  Even though four other Marines from their unit were maimed by IED blasts that week, they overcame the fear, and hiked to the area.  After successfully detonating three IED's they came under fire while searching for more.  They fought off the attackers and decided to turn back because it was getting late (it's hard to find IED's in the dark).  Tomy said "I took four steps just fine.  On the fifth step, I felt funny.  I looked down, and realized I wasn't on the ground anymore.  Then I realized it was because I didn't have legs anymore.  I said a couple of colorful words, thought, 'This is going to hurt,' and smashed into the ground."

At this point the soft tissue on his legs and fingers on his left hand were shredded beyond repair.  His eardrum was ruptured, but he still managed to hear his fellow soldiers yell, "We can't see you through the dust!"  When the dust cleared, they put tourniquets on both legs, and got gauze and pressure dressings on his hand.  Unfortunately, there was no room for a helicopter in the area, so Tomy was loaded in a truck and driven to a location were a helicopter could land.  Tomy was eventually flown to a forward operating base and sedated to relieve the unbearable pain he was suffering.  The remaining bone from his legs and left hand had to be amputated in a field hospital in Afghanistan.  His right leg was amputated at the knee, but the left leg had to be sawed off at the hip.  Tomy did not regain consciousness until he was back on US soil at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda Maryland.

Tomy Parker is now a double amputee and a lefty without fingers on his left hand.  On March 27, 2011 he attempted to take his first step with a walker and nearly tipped over before the therapist caught him.  His left hand repeatedly slipped off because he is unable to grip the walker.  After several minutes, Tomy managed to move four feet.  His face was dripping with sweat, but Tomy was still determined to go out of the room and around the hall (equivalent to running a 10k marathon without any training).  After several adjustments to the leg and arm pads he managed to round the first corner.  At this point an audience has gathered due to his therapist exclaiming, "You guys have to see this!"  He became more stable with every step and started to pick up speed.  As he was half way through the second hallway, he noticed the artwork on the walls of famous individuals who overcame adversity.  He was inspired by the portraits of athlete Babe Zaharias (cancer), President Franklin Roosevelt (polio), and physicist Albert Einstein (dyslexia) that were all painted by another wounded warrior.  Now Tomy is covered with sweat but still pushes forward until he makes it all the way around on his first day of therapy. 

Tomy understands that his job now is to recover from his wounds and learn how to live the rest of his life without his legs and it appears he is well on his way.  However, when he progresses, he says he wants to pursue shooting (right handed), plus swimming, and maybe even golf.  He says that challenges and the thought of letting down his family and friends is what drives him to recover.  It's clear that Tomy Parker understands how to make a commitment, persevere, and face adversity head-on and we should all thank God for his courage.

On May 30, 2011 we honor the fallen soldier, their families, and the men and women like Tomy Parker who sacrificed their way of lives to protect ours.  Courageous acts of this magnitude are not carried out by men and women who question Freedom's worth.  They are done by individuals who honor the brave men and women who were willing to sacrifice everything to create a society free of tyranny.  They are done by men and women of character, who believe that Freedom's worth is more valuable than their own.  Stories like these inspire many of us to take a look inside ourselves and wonder, "Could I be that brave?", "Would I be willing to give my life or my limbs?"  But, it's not about what you would do if you were in their shoes.  It's about what you are willing to do in the "here and now."

On November 2, 2012, our country will go to the polls to elect the next President of the United States.  On that day, will you be able to say that you went above the call of duty or will you wonder?  This election cycle is an opportunity for all of us to show the world that even average everyday Americans still believe in Freedom.  There is no better way to honor our fallen soldiers and thousands of other men and women in uniform with stories like Tomy Parker's than through selfless acts of our own.

Matthew Council blogs at RhinosBeGone.  His personal page is MatthewRossCouncil.com.

Quotations drawn from:

Wounded Marine Tomy Parker begins grueling process of walking again - By VINCE DEVLIN of the Missoulian RavalliRepublic.com | Posted: Sunday, March 27, 2011
Modern warfare's lifesaving techniques give Ronan's Tomy Parker a fighting chance - By VINCE DEVLIN of the Missoulian missoulian.com | Posted: Saturday, January 15, 201

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