Rodney L. was serving as a corpsman when he ended up needing a corspman himself. After Soldiers' Angels later gave him a Valour-IT laptop, he took the time to share the impact that laptop had on his recovery...
On 28 May 2011, while on patrol in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, the MRAP vehicle that I was riding in was attacked by a roadside bomb. The 120 pounds of homemade explosives were powerful enough to flip the 30,000 pound vehicle unto its top, trapping four Marines and myself inside. I remember waking up while upside down, with dust and smoke filling the air. I asked the Marine across from me what had happened and he replied, “We hit a damn IED and we are trapped inside and the vehicle is on fire." The first thought that came to my mind was, “ So this is what it’s like.” The next thought was, "No way in hell will I be baked in this thing alive!"
My action was to disconnect myself from the harness and simply quickly get my wits together. I knew we were upside down and that the cabin was beginning to fill with smoke. We all began to cough and our eyes burned. I realized, however, that one hatch had not been attempted due to the amount of armor that had dislodged inside the vehicle; it was the escape hatch located just beneath me. My body writhed in pain, but with the help of the Marine in the back with me, we were able to open the escape hatch and crawl out, where we were dragged to safety. Shortly the escape, the rockets inside the vehicle detonated and the wreckage burned to the ground.
[Everyone survived, but three were severely injured. Rodney suffered broken feet, an injured knee, mutliple back fractures and a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)].
I spent a great amount of time in the hospital and recuperating. Sadly though, I did so in San Diego, away from my home and family. Your contribution of this laptop not only allowed me to connect with them, but it also allowed me to begin rebuilding my life by attending online college courses at National University. The support that I have received as a wounded warrior--from not only my friends and family but also from organizations such as yours--has been extremely meaningful and in a lot of cases necessary for health.
Thank you for all that you do and continue to do,
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