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An Inspiring Message from Iraq War Veteran Chris Rutter

Unit In Baghdad
Chris Rutter (3rd from left) and his unit in Baghdad before his injury.

In my opinion, we can never say enough “thank you” messages or show enough support for our men and women fighting for our freedom. Chris Rutter is a friend of mine from Clinton, Mo., and I felt compelled to share his Facebook post from earlier today.

Seven years ago today, I played a pretty high-stakes game of “whack-a-bomb” on a dirt road southwest of Baghdad.  While many some would say I lost that day, I would argue that I was the victor.  Although that IED comprised of two 88mm mortar rounds with the steel plate on top may have broken my body, in the end, it didn’t break my spirit.

Please don’t think it’s been easy from day one and that I’m Superman, or a hero (that word is overused).  I can’t tell you how many nights I spent in the hospital curled up in the fetal position, sobbing like a baby. There are so many people that played a part in getting me to where I am today.  The guys in the unit that kept me alive waiting for the medevac, the medical staff in county like Mel, or “Mom” as everyone called her, the medical staff in Germany, the medical team on the flight back to the states (where I had an interview with 60 Minutes that I didn’t remember until I saw the footage), and the amazing team of surgeons, physical therapists, and the prosthetics gurus at Walter Reed.

Thank you to Mary and Genna who signed me up for the New York City marathon when I was still thoroughly enjoying my pain medicine, but who were there with Amber and my folks when I crossed the finish line six months after getting hurt.  Thanks to the other members of the Walter Reed class of 2006-07 that pushed each other to accept only the best, and to never quit.  Thanks for helping me develop my twisted, dark sense of humor that only you guys can truly understand.

I have an amazing network of friends and supporters all across the country and around the world.  I have friends like Scott, Daniel, and Barry who are better friends to me than I am to them.  I have parents that have stood beside me from day one, and while they may not have always agreed with all of my decisions, they supported me.  I have a gorgeous wife that I just can’t seem to shake; love you Amber.  She was standing there when I finally woke up in the hospital, and she’s been there every step of the way.  God only knows where I’d be without you.  Together, we have a beautiful daughter that means the world to us, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for the three of us.

I’ve traveled the country (and I guess the world if you count the week in Russia) speaking to countless people trying to give them hope, while they didn’t even realize it was more therapeutic for me.  I’ve finished three marathons, skydived with prosthetics, nearly finished the basement from concrete walls, knocked out a 4-year degree in three years and now I work with an awesome group of people.

If you’re reading this, you’ve played some part in my life.  You may think it was simple or not noteworthy, but as the saying goes, “There are no small parts, only small actors.”  Thank you for all of the thoughts, prayers, calls, pats on the back, handshakes, hugs, smiles, trips to 54th St or Menard’s, great conversations and just being there with me through thick and thin.  I’m truly blessed to have the people around me that I do.  Those that have one or help someone celebrate one, know that today is my “Alive Day”.  It’s the day that things could’ve very easily gone south, but they didn’t.  Life starts again on that day, and my will always be May 7.”

With the media being so prevalent in the coverage of wars and conflicts, I think that sometimes we get jaded about what is happening daily to our troops, and sometimes even forgetting that these “troops” are actually “people” like you and me.

I DO think they are heroes, and it puts it all in a totally new perspective when you read the words of someone that you know. God bless our troops, and God bless America.

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