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Old 05-25-2009, 05:25 PM
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Default If you have a little extra time

Apologies in advance for the length of this post.

There is a young Texan named Ben Hardgrove, who was a Marine and served 2 consecutive tours of duty in Iraq. He came home in March of 2006 and within 12 hours of arriving in the US, he was hit by a car and suffered a massive head injury. He was not yet 21 years old. Since then, he has struggled just to live and to try and regain some of the most basic of skills. It has been a long struggle and a much longer one ahead.

Before his injury, he was an honor student in high school and an exemplary Marine. Now, he is unable to communicate except through a communication device. He cannot walk or even stand unassisted. The tendons in his hands have contracted so much that he has very little use of them, despite several painful surgeries to correct this. He has been in VA hospitals and a long term rehab center in Houston since his injury until 3 weeks ago, when his family was finally able to take him home. But his progress has been so slow and painful that he struggles with extreme frustration and depression.

I don't know this young man. I have never met him or his family. I just ran across his CarePage when following the progress of a friend's child. I was struck by his courage and bravery as well as broken hearted at what this tragedy has done to his life. So I've been following his progress for a couple of years now and posting messages for Ben and his family. Today on Memorial Day, if anyone has a little extra time, would you leave Ben a message on his CarePage? I know he reads them and I also know he could use the boost of knowing that he is still remembered and appreciated for his service.

The site is called CarePages and you will need to register in order to visit a page and leave a message. It's free, of course, and you won't get any spam or other junk mail by registering. This is his CarePage:

http://www.carepages.com/carepages/benhardgrove

If you explore his page, you will see a gallery of pictures of Ben and can read through all of the updates posted by his mom and others since 2006. Have some kleenex handy and be ready to hug your kids tight after reading about his long struggle. And thanks, y'all.
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Old 05-25-2009, 05:28 PM
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Default Re: If you have a little extra time

Will do Terry!!
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Old 05-25-2009, 05:35 PM
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Default Re: If you have a little extra time

I left a message. The pictures made me cry. Such a sad story.
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Old 05-25-2009, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: If you have a little extra time

Thanks so much. I knew this community would send him some love.

I'm so lucky to have all of my sons home and healthy and safe. Today makes me think about all the other American "boys" who are stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan and are never safe. And the ones who have come home injured or worse. I know how important it still is to Ben to have been a Marine so today must be especially poignant for him and his family. (His mom says the 2 things he wants put on every morning are his watch and his Marines baseball cap.)
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Old 05-25-2009, 06:31 PM
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Default Re: If you have a little extra time

You know, when a tragedy like this befalls such a selfless young man, it makes you realize how small and insignificant your own problems really are.

I am going to visit his page right now.
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Old 05-25-2009, 06:51 PM
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Default Re: If you have a little extra time

I just left a message for Ben. He came home on my birthday and I consider it a valuable present. What a nice sounding young man. Thanks for showing the way, Terry.

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Old 05-25-2009, 09:58 PM
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Default Re: If you have a little extra time

Done!
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:07 AM
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Default Re: If you have a little extra time

I'm on it!
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