I asked the Oconomowoc Quilt Guild if I could get a quilt to give to Ben. He was coming home for Christmas (09). They had a quilt to me within a few days for me to give to Ben. The quilt was one of the most beautiful quilts I have seen. It was made by Jean Higleman from Brookfield Wi. Ben received the quilt on Christmas at his parents home. His sister wrapped it for him. I had dropped the quilt off at his fundraiser a few weeks before. Ben really liked it.. as you can see by the smile on his face. As the story goes on I sent photos to the guild and to Quilts of Valor. And it so happens that they want to use the photo of Ben and his quilt in American Patchwork and Quilting magazine. This is pretty exciting. Ben is going to be having a lot of Physical Therapy and is in a lot of pain.. if you could please keep him in your prayers that would be wonderful. He needs all the prayers he can get. Now.. drumroll please... here is Ben and his Quilt of Valor.. he is a true hero... and my adopted soldier. Hang in there Ben.. We all are pulling for you....
Background StoryOn July 2, 2009 Ben left for his second tour of duty, serving with the Blackhawk 8-1 Cavalry in Afghanistan. He was scheduled for a year long tour of duty.
On the morning of Sunday, September 13, 2009 we received word that the vehicle that Ben had been driving hit an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) and that Ben had been severely injured. All that we knew at that time was that Ben had sustained a head injury and severe injuries to both of his legs. We were told that we would receive updates on Ben's status every eight to ten hours. The next few hours were very stressful for all of us, filled with anger, tears and heavy hearts. Later that afternoon a phone call came in bringing great news! Ben's injuries, although serious, were not as bad as initially thought. He had sustained a laceration to the back of his head and had compound fractures to both of his legs. We now knew that the injury to his head did not involve his brain, but were unsure of the full extent of his leg injuries.
We learned that the blast occurred when Ben's squadron was in route to pay a farmer for damage that they had done to his watering system while completing a mission on the previous day when the vehicle encountered an IED. Ben was driving a Stryker Armored Vehicle, one of the newer kinds of military vehicles containing a double layer of armor, when he drove over the IED that produced, in Ben's words, "one hell of a blast!" There were five other soldiers on duty with Ben that day, one including a medic. They pulled Ben from the vehicle, and a Blackhawk helicopter was on the ground to airlift Ben to safety within minutes.
Ben was stabilized in Afghanistan and had some surgeries done. He was scheduled to be airlifted to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. In Germany, Ben would have any additional surgeries that he required, and his wife, Tara, would be able to be with him while he began on his long road to recovery. On Monday, September 14 we received news that Ben had been honored with a purple heart!
After being boarded onto the first plane that was scheduled to leave Afghanistan for Germany and getting in the air, Ben's plane caught on fire and had to make an emergency landing. Finally, on Wednesday, September 16 Ben arrived SAFELY in Germany. Since being in Germany, we have learned many things about the extent of Ben's injuries. Even with all the damage to Ben's legs, there was NO damage to the nerves in his legs. He is able to wiggle his toes on both feet. In addition, fractures were found in Ben's pelvis and vertebrae (thankfully