Monday, July 05, 2010

A veteran's story


I wrote a Fourth of July story about an Iraq veteran who lost his right leg and his left eye in a 2007 battle. He is just now getting home:
Dale Cherney remembers a flash of light.

After that, he remembers nothing for more than two months.

Cherney was walking out of the chow hall at Camp Victory, the complex of U.S. military bases near the Baghdad International Airport, when the insurgents' rocket exploded. It was Oct. 10, 2007. By Oct. 14, Cherney, an Army Reserve sergeant, was in the intensive care unit of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The 45-year-old rural Mosinee man has been in rehabilitation, in one form or another, ever since.

The damage the rocket did to his body was massive. He lost his right leg, which had to be amputated below the knee. He lost his left eye. His stomach and many of his internal organs were blown apart. His body is riddled with scars, and there are pins and rods holding his left leg together.

"This should have killed me, too, this scar here," he said, running his finger along the faint scar that runs from behind his ear down to his chest.
Read the whole story here. And definitely, definitely view the excellent photos taken by freelancer Butch McCartney for the Daily Herald at his blog here.

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