Denver, Colorado 2020-11-26 10:40:05 –
Over time, the question of whether Gabe Martinez lost his leg in an IED explosion in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving Day 2010 or the next day has become a dark humor issue for him and his wife. ..
Early in the morning of Friday, November 26, at the Taliban Fortress in Marja, he was blown into the air by stepping on a buried glass bottle filled with an estimated 25 pounds of explosive. But for his wife in Lakewood, it was still Thursday night.
“I tell my wife that it sounds cool to say Thanksgiving,” said Martinez, a retired Marine who grew up in Westminster. “She said,’It was Black Friday. It’s just as cool.'”
Today, Martinez is fighting another kind of war for homeland security, using digital forensics “to fight the pandemic of child exploitation.” As a father of three, he personally takes those crimes.
“The point is to put the child’s predator behind the bar,” said Martinez, who lives near Parker. “That’s true, it’s probably worse than people understand, and it’s a war here at our homefront where we need to fight. There are people who prey on our most vulnerable people every day. I’m in. “
He traces his warrior mindset back to the day of the 9/11 attack in 2001, when he was in seventh grade. He remembers the expressionless face of his father on the drive to school that day and how his teacher had the same face. It was the day he learned what terrorism was.
“It was like a fire that broke out in my years as a teenager,” said Martinez, 32. He wanted to participate in the war on terrorism. It’s been a few months since I graduated in 2007.
Dangerous because it was his job to wipe out metal detector-filled explosives when the IED was filling US military hospitals with disabled soldiers before he was deployed. I knew it would be. He told his family that he wanted to die rather than come back without his feet.
That feeling changed instantly. Only 48 days after his deployment, and four months after the wedding, the IED was able to blow him into the air and overlook a vehicle parked nearby.
“As soon as I landed on the ground, it was like this moment of silence, and I felt the decision whether I wanted to live was mine,” Martinez said. “I heard the voice of God say,’Do you want to live?’. Without hesitation, I said so. As soon as I said yes, it was like,’This is your reality.’ .. The right foot was on the chest and the left foot was hanging sideways. “
In a Blackhawk helicopter that evacuated him, he was placed next to his best friend. He also lost both legs when he tried to come to Martinez’s help. In the first surgery after the injury, Martinez flattened on the operating table.
He was sent to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where he and his wife spent their first Christmas as a couple. He had lost his right foot above his knee and his left foot below his knee.
After spending a month at Walter Reed, he was transferred to the Balboa Naval Medical Center in San Diego on New Year’s Eve for rehab. Shortly after his recovery, he decided to pursue sports for the disabled. Eventually, he would run in several marathons through a hand cycle. He studied skiing and rock climbing and participated in athletics as a sprinter. Today, his athletic activity focuses on introducing children aged 8, 3, and 1 to their love for the mountains of Colorado. He wants to teach them skiing.
As the 10th anniversary of combat injuries approaches, Martinez continues to thank the Semper Fi Fund, a non-profit organization that provides financial and support to Marines injured in combat. It helped him in many ways through his recovery, including compensating for the income his wife lost when she rushed to Walter Reed. It helped him get adaptive sporting goods when he was pursuing Paralympic sports and supported him during the unpaid internship he served while preparing for his current job. did. As he was injured, the Semper Fi Foundation expanded to support members of other services under the name America’s Fund.
“I spent 22 years on my natural feet,” Martinez said. “Suddenly, in milliseconds, they were gone. I thought my life was completely over. I have to rely on others for everything for the rest of my life. This disabled person Well, in addition to the doctor patching me up and doing everything medically necessary, I attribute most of my recovery to the Semperfi Foundation. They were able to show me that my concept was a misunderstanding. It wasn’t what I expected to be in my life. “
Thanksgiving has always had a special meaning to Martinez and his wife, Keila, but especially this is the tenth anniversary of his loss.
“I sometimes forget what I’ve experienced in the last decade and how different Thanksgiving is,” says Kayla. “It’s a kind of interesting holiday that suddenly has a completely different reason to thank each year and look back on what that day was for us.”
Parker veteran marks 10 years since he lost his legs in Afghanistan Source link Parker veteran marks 10 years since he lost his legs in Afghanistan