A word of thanks from one of the soldiers you helped

Sep 26 2011 - 9:00am

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Charles F. Trentelman
Charles F. Trentelman

Last July Seth Pack, an Ogden kid and the son of a friend, stepped on a mine in Afghanistan and had much of one leg explosively removed.

After I mentioned Seth, you and I donated $15,000 to Operation Ward 57, one of the groups helping soldiers like Seth.

I have to stress that "soldiers like Seth" stuff. This is not about Seth.

He's a good kid. His mom, who has been with him from day one, borders on sainthood. But they're just two of far too many thousands hurt by the wars.

People who sent donations got that. Note after note said "This is for all those soldiers."

Brittney Hamilton, the director of Operation Ward 57, sent me a nice note for all you who helped:

"Ten years ago when the wars started I felt helpless and didn't know how I could personally make an impact. So, when I was offered the opportunity to buy a shirt from Operation Ward 57, and I knew that money would better the life of a solider recovering from his wounds, I jumped at the chance.

"Sometimes, people just need a small and simple avenue to funnel their desire to help. Your readers are amazing. They rallied together for a necessary cause and I want to thank each and every one from the bottom of my heart. My heart is humbled."

Even though this is not about Seth, you must be wondering, "How's Seth doing?"

Pretty darn good, considering.

I mean, he lost his lower left leg. His right one was broken, skinned and beat up. His pelvis was split. His guts were scrambled. One hand was mangled. For a long time he wore an exoskeleton of steel bars. He had so many surgeries he should get a free appendectomy. Skin grafts make his remaining leg look like dried salami.

Now he's wheelchair mobile and learning to walk with a prosthetic. Last weekend he ate in a restaurant. Very soon he will move to a separate apartment as an outpatient after only three months. That is one tough soldier.

Until now, you haven't heard from Seth. So I asked if he had anything to say.

Seth, the rest of the column is yours:

"Well, I suppose I would like say thank you most of all. Thank you to all the people who got involved and donated. Thanks to those who sent letters and packages, and for all the thoughts and prayers. Also big thanks to you for getting folks involved and raising awareness about wounded warriors.

"I'll say I miss Ogden a lot. Hopefully, I'll be able to come visit for a while and get some leisure therapy.

"I'm not gonna say this sucks. I like to look at the bright side (most of the time) and say this is a growing and learning experience. Other times, I'd say it's just a big inconvenience.

"Last of all, I'd like to remind everybody to remember all the unwounded warriors that are still in the thick of it and risking it all for us.

"I say to my mom, 'I miss Afghanistan.' She says I don't and I guess she's right. It's not the place, but the people.

"I miss the long group conversations when everybody is out just having a smoke together. There's a great opportunity to learn so much about these men when so much time is spent together. Unfortunately I didn't have as much time, but I truly do miss and love my Brothers, and I think of them every day."

Thank you, Seth. Come home soon.

Wasatch Rambler is the opinion of Charles Trentelman. You can call him at 801-625-4232 or e-mail ctrentelman@standard.net. He also blogs at www.standard.net.

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