Jonathan... THANK YOU for your service!
As an Uber and Lyft driver I depend on my cell phone to stay in business. But after three great years with my Motorola Droid Turbo I was finally ready for an upgrade.
At the Verizon Store across, from the Edison Mall, I had the pleasure of meeting Jonathan who helped put me into a new Moto Z! It was a slow process so I spent a lot of time with my salesman.
Although Jonathan was a young man, on several ocassions he stretched his arm and twisted his neck, trying to get more comfortable. He seemed to be in some pain. When I asked him about the discomfort he told me that he was an Army veteran and had been injured in Iraq.
Jonathan served in the United States Army from 2003-2013. He was trained as both a combat medic and an interrogation specialist.
On the day of his injuries he was traveling in a convoy of armored vehicles. His was the second in line and he was sitting in the rear seat. As the lead vehicle was suddenly struck by an explosive device, it was thrown violently into the air and landed on Jonathan's vehicle. The impact shattered the legs of his driver and the shotgun companion, and Jonathan sustained a serious head wound. Several soldiers in the lead vehicle were killed.
In the midst of a fierce firefight, Jonathan quickly assessed and bound his own injuries. He then went to work on his fellow soldiers. Their injuries were severe and would require tourniquets, morphine and extensive medical attention.
Once the area was secured, helicopters were called to the scene to evacuate the fallen and injured.
With the mission still before them, Jonathan's services would be needed. He utilized staples for his head laceration and pressed on with the convoy.
Later that day, and in preparation to "take out" a specific insurgent leader, they were now on foot.
Jonathan was with a group of eight US soldiers who were moving into position. The point man happened to be Jonathan's best friend from back in the states. They had entered the Army together back in 2003 and were now serving side by side. Although Jonathan often preferred to take the point, a quick game of "rock, paper, scissors" put Jonathan right behind his best friend and Army buddy.
As they quickly moved forward, it happened...his dear friend, the point man, stepped on a pressure plate IED that triggered a massive explosion. Although Jonathan's friend was instantly killed, his sacrifice provided a partial shield that helped save Jonathan's life and minimize his injuries.
The burning shrapnel ripped through Jonathan's left shoulder, practically severing his arm. Seering shrapnel struck his leg and foot. Although his injuries were not necessarily life threatening, he sustained severe burns and possibly the loss of his left arm.
Jonathan would be coming home to his wife and two young daughters. His military career was coming to an end.
After nine surgeries and the loss of feeling in his left arm and hand, Jonathan's healing journey is still a work in progress.
Regardless of his physical limitations, Jonathan has a strong work ethic and keeps a positive attitude.
He serves diligently as a manager at Verizon.
Thank you, Jonathan, for your service and sacrifice!
A grateful nation salutes you and and all the men and women who selflessly volunteer to serve in the United States Armed Forces!