“Defenders of Freedom helped me get my base back”

Anthony took a direct hit by an RPG on April 24, 2004 while serving in Iraq. He was critically wounded and placed in a body bag.

When a nurse came to check his dog tag she noticed bubbles in the blood that was pooled on his nose and realized he was still breathing. The medical team then shifted into providing the trauma care that would ultimately save his life. Unfortunately, because they initially thought he was dead, all of his paperwork had been sent ahead and as a result he was given the wrong blood type. This sent him into a coma that would last for two months.

Anthony also had surgery to repair his badly injured hip. The trajectory of the RPG that hit him slammed into a wall before it exploded. The impact shattered his hip and the explosion took off his arm and sent shrapnel throughout his body. During surgery an instrument that was left in his body caused an infection that ate much of the thigh muscle before it was discovered. Today, Anthony’s hip is mostly a mesh girdle that holds everything in place.

After nearly 2 years of recovery Anthony was determined to build his body strong again! He started going to events to learn new skills and his competitive spirit allowed him to not only participate, but win medals in almost everything he competed in. Wheel chair basketball, downhill skiing, Kayaking and white water rafting are a few of the events he participated in. He next set his mind on getting back into martial arts. Before Anthony left for Iraq he had earned his Black Belt but didn’t want to wear the belt again until he re-qualified for it. He did, then decided it was time to start giving back. Anthony now teaches the disciplines of martial arts to underprivileged children. He has surpassed his goal of qualifying for a black belt by reaching the level of Grand Master. Anthony is a perfect example of what it means to persevere.