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Christmas Can Cure 2010 Wounded Warriors Arrive Dec. 16

December 09, 2010
During the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003, DJ's command post was attacked. As he ran through enemy fire to deliver more ammunition to fellow marines, DJ's feet were blown off by a large blast from Rocket Propelled Grenades and Mortars. Although he suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury, it was not diagnosed until 2008. His cranial nerve was damaged, causing right side weakness, and affecting other neurological functions that deal with memory. He suffers from a complete loss of vestibular function, causing permanent impairment of balance and vision. As a result, DJ must now walk with at least one, often two canes and he can no longer drive. He was medically retired in 2010, and now lives with wife Stacie and sons Joshua, age 12 and Jeremy, age 10 in Maine, near relatives.

"Joshua and Jeremy have struggled with the adjustment to non-military life where their friends have no idea what they have had to live through. It has been difficult, but the boys are beginning to understand that DJ can't do the things he could do before," Stacie explained. She and DJ are looking forward to their five days in Jackson with Christmas Can Cure. "There won't be any worries about physical therapy appointments, and we'll enjoy seeing the boys have fun," DJ said. "Plus it's going to be even more wonderful sharing the experience with someone we already know," added Stacie.

In September 2003, in Iraq, Rocky and another soldier from his Combat Engineering Unit were traveling in a Humvee, when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) hit the rear of their vehicle. Rocky incurred shrapnel wounds to his face, neck (missing his jugular vein by only two or three centimeters, hand and calf, as well as a ruptured eardrum. He required many facial stitches, but the wound to his calf was more severe. That injury required drastic measures to save his leg - a fasciotomy, which cuts through the skin leaving an open wound to allow the muscles to heal.

After a short hospital stay, Rocky was sent home to recuperate. It was during those weeks that Mel, his wife, and two-year-old son, Riel, cleaned and bandaged his wounds day after day, until he received a skin graft. "It is because of their unrelenting sacrifice to care for and heal me back to health that my family deserves the experience of a white Christmas and the joy of a sleigh ride," Rocky wrote.

He was also diagnosed in 2004 with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, "which ailed him more than anything else," Mel said. Rocky was medically retired in May 2006, and in July was hired by the Department of the Army Civil Service. While working in Massachusetts in 2009-2010, he was also diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury and began receiving experimental treatments, which have improved his memory concentration, and cognitive functions.

It was also in Massachusetts, during the September 2010 WWP Soldier Ride in Lexington, that Rocky and Mel met DJ and Stacie Martin. "When Rocky met DJ, I saw the old Rocky again," commented Mel. And as Stacie put it, "They hit it off right away two Marines bonding together." [Before becoming an Army officer, Rocky had enlisted in the Marines for 10 years.] But Mel and Stacie had previously met at the June WWP Caregiver's Retreat. "It's God's way of putting us together," Rocky stated. "And now our boys will get to meet each other what an unbelievable experience it will be," Mel added.

"I cannot thank the Carrier family enough to share this magical event with my wife and two boys. They want to ski, and Mel and I want to watch them have a good time," Rocky said. And DJ added that, "It will be great to enjoy an uninterrupted Christmas holiday in Jackson with Stacie and the boys. I loved my time in the Marine Corps and would not change a thing. Things could have been worse."

Rocky and DJ embody the spirit of true patriots, whose passion, strength, and tenacity represent the American service men and women around the world. The Carriers are proud to honor and serve them through Christmas Can Cure, and would appreciate any amount of support you can offer. Donate to the Warriors cause directly via PayPal @ http://www.christmascancure.org/getinvolved/ or send a check to Christmas Can Cure, P.O. Box 384, Jackson NH 03846. Christmas Can Cure is a 501(c) (3) organization, and all donations are tax deductible.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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