Daniel's Note about the past year

Below is the Note Daniel posted on Facebook:

A year ago today at roughly 9:15 my brother was shot in the neck by an insurgent in Afghanistan. I have tried to write this update a half dozen times and not been able to get it done. I don’t know how to sum up this last year. My heart is heavy. It is not out of desperation or hopelessness I think it is more out of a since of enormity of what has been survived. I think that is really the key. It’s what has been survived.

In a few hours I’ll get in my truck and drive to the spot on 155 where I got the call. I will pull that truck over and just sit there. As I look out over that expanse of road, at the loop to my left and the fire station on up a little further my mind will wonder back to the things that I’ve felt, seen and to the people I have had the good fortune to meet. My mind will wonder back to that call, hearing Andy’s voice but not really comprehending what he was saying. Listening to Doc Renolds as he explained how bad Andy was injured. Sitting at the table in the Noonday Fire House trying desperately to make my hands stop shaking long enough to pick up my phone and call our parents and tell them that there youngest son had been critically wounded in combat. Then realizing that I couldn’t actually do it.

Listening to that Firefighter tell me that my brother was a fighter and he was going to be ok, and actually believing him. Picking up the phone, calling Mark then Sherri to pray like they have never prayed before. Actually calling mom and dad who took it well, I thought. Calling my brothers in law, so my sisters would not be alone when they found out. Regretting having to burden those men with that responsibility.

Sherri bringing me a turkey sandwich and then sitting across from me and watch me eat it to make sure I did. Actually feeling a change in my heart from fear, uncertainty, hatred and deep sorrow to peace. Having a tear-filled conversation with Melissa that encouraged her and was a great hope to me.

Thanking the nurse at Walter Reed that handed me a bottle of water when I broke down in the hallway after seeing Andy for the first time. Or Xavier who is maybe one of the best ICU nurses ever. Or Brenda Kelly the first physical therapist Andy had. She gave me a crash course in P.T. and just about adopted him. Or Cpt. Dora Quilty for letting me help make some mods to the PCA pump. Maybe she knew how helpless I felt and how solving one small problem would make all the others seem a little bit more bearable.

I will think about the unwavering loyalty of the men of Chosen (Wanat survivors) as they would literally limp or roll down to check on Doc. Burnett. I’ll be thinking of friends and family that drove or flew ridiculous distances just to check on him. Daniel G., Jon, Mel, Uncle Ron and Aunt Judy--none of you had to come but I am extremely grateful that you did.

I’ll be thinking of the staff and other patients in Tampa. Delgado, Richardson, Ben, Lara, Jennie, Lindsay, Karen, the night nurse trifecta and those mad honey bun cravings, Jessie Lee, Sophia, Ruddy, Picaro, Goodman, and so many other people. Thank you for doing your jobs and being who you are. You helped my brother get his life back on track. Thank you will never be able to sufficiently communicate my appreciation and gratitude. I’m glad I picked the Tampa Polytrauma Unit for Andy you have made a world of difference in his life.

My mind will drift over to Pastor Paul the Robertsons and a little Nazarene church in Wesley Chapel that ministered to my soul through Bucks games, pot luck and a Bush Gardens trip.

Sherri and Ann, I‘ll be thinking about that welcome home celebration. I think only Heaven will top that. Cory, Casey--you have both been great friends to Andy. Thanks!

Leslie, I love you and I wouldn’t have made it this far without you.There are so many people that did so much from concerts and trail rides to driving lessons and food drop offs. The people that God put around us made it possible to survive. Apart from His grace, apart from his plan we as a family would have been swallowed up by all of this--Andy especially. God has seen fit to spare my brother's life for a purpose. What that is, I do not know, but the fact is he has a bright future. Thank you for sharing in that with all of us.

God bless you all,

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