Freedom Alliance was privileged to host several Walter Reed patients and their friends to two Washington Capitals ice-hockey games during the first week of March.
The Caps competed against the Boston Bruins in the first event. Our guests that evening were Army Sergeant Adam and Marine Corporal David, injured service members with incredible stories of bravery and tenacity.
Sergeant Adam, an avid hockey fan, was the Soldier Salute honoree that night, and his story was broadcast to the arena, achieving great applause from the hockey fans.
During the summer of 2010, while deployed in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, Adam’s vehicle was involved in an explosion that killed all the other passengers. He was treated at the Walter Reed ICU for broken bones, an eye wound, and a severe brain injury. Shortly thereafter, he contracted a deadly infection that caused liver and kidney failure and led to the amputation of his left hand and both legs above the knee. He was given a one-percent chance of survival.
Having undergone more than 50 surgeries, Adam’s determination to recover has led him to accomplish two personal goals: (1) to jump out of a plane again, and (2) to lead paratroopers in a formation run up a mountain at Fort Bragg. Today, Adam’s objective is to walk again, and we don’t put it past this persevering hero to realize any ambition.
Freedom Alliance met Corporal David the week before when Lt. Col. Oliver North was visiting Walter Reed’s inpatient Marines. David and his wife were trying desperately to obtain a day pass, since they hadn’t left the hospital in weeks.
We were stunned by this young Marine’s story. While serving in Cambodia, he was trying to dismantle a Vietnam-War-era land mine when it detonated. In a sacrificial act to save his fellow Marines and prevent setting off other land mines, he held onto the explosive. He lost his left eye and his left hand, but saved his life and the lives of those around him.
David is a diehard Bruins devotee … but alas, the Capitals tied late in the game and won in overtime. That didn’t diminish his enthusiasm, however, and he was a super addition to our band of hockey enthusiasts.
The second game was played against the Florida Panthers, and we had the honor of hosting the night’s Soldier Salute recipient, Staff Sergeant Michael. Michael served with the 299th Engineering Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, out of Fort Hood, Texas. While deployed in Iraq, Michael’s vehicle hit an anti-tank land mine that exploded beneath him. The blast severed his right leg below the knee and caused multiple fractures.
Michael, when not recovering at Walter Reed, plays for the USA Warriors Ice Hockey Team and recently competed in a tournament in Chicago. He is a Capitals fanatic and was over the top about their victory against the Panthers, as well as his excellent seats at the game.
Freedom Alliance is grateful for our relationship with the Washington Capitals Soldier Salute, and more than happy to connect them to injured troops in need of a break and a bit of fun.