Inspiration for Veterans Day > A Critically Wounded Hero and His Wife Speak Up

As Veterans Day approaches my thoughts (and I am guessing many Americans as well) frequently go to images of World War II veterans, local veteran recognition, parades, corporate efforts for veteran employment announcements and images of Arlington National Cemetery.

CPT Edward Klein and wife Jessica  See below for photo credit
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have created a new focus on veterans and one that often (thankfully) includes the wounded heroes who will bear the scars, invisible injuries and lost limbs of war. Captain Edward Klein, US Army, a triple amputee due to an IED attack in Afghanistan, and his wife Jessica joined the DoD Blogger Roundtable to discuss their experiences and to highlight Warrior Care Month. SFC Scott Cormack also participated as a Platoon Sergeant with the Army's Warrior Transition Unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  

Warrior Care Month recognition began in 2008 and is observed in November to wrap it's arms around Veterans Day. The Roundtable met to listen to one veteran's story that can both make your heart stop and at the same time impress you with the resilience that this young man and his spouse caregiver have. Captain Klein, better known as "Flip" quickly jumped into the events of his recovery following his October 2012 injuries. The 2006 West Point grad wanted the bloggers to know that he relied on his Ranger training to keep going when the world seemed the darkest. He quoted, "You can always take another step" and "Only thing that can stop me, is me" to the group as we listened to his words that reflected how much effort he had put into his recovery from the loss of three limbs. Yes, I said the loss of three limbs and part of his hand as well. Putting my arms around those details was just tough and writing about it is even harder for this veteran. Yet, his story is compelling for Americans to know; to recognize the sacrifice, the service before self attitude and the values of our Veterans.

Captain Klein Walking In July  See Below
The Kleins described a "sea of goodwill" from Americans as they went through their struggles since the day Flip stepped on IED west of Kandahar, Afghanistan. Describing her role as her husband's caregiver, Jessica said to ask for help and "it's ok to be mad, frustrated and cry", but use your resources to avoid the downward spirals that many veterans and caregivers have during treatment. SFC Cormack said that Warrior Training Units emphasize "redirecting energy to positive things" to avoid staying in the cloud of confusion and pain after being injured. He stated that he has not seen one soldier stay in the cloud condition since he became a leader in the organization. Since 2007, WTUs have cared for approximately 57,000 soldiers and about 47% have returned to active duty but more importantly they have returned to successful lives through resources such as education opportunities, civilian jobs (agencies are matched up to find the right civilian job) and rehabilitation. He felt that the key to success was the individual effort and positive thinking.

One theme that struck me was the Kleins' description of "snowballing". The negative steps that get bigger and bigger just like a snowball rolling down a hill as it gathers the snow around it, become a heavy weight for the individual and family. Jessica said she had gone down the road that Flip is not going to recover and had planned his funeral due to snowballing. Learning to redirect energy into positive thoughts and avoid the negative "if this happens, then this is the next bad event", etc.  As a current cancer patient their description struck me as applicable to so many life events.  The Kleins have found a way to work through this trauma and find the positive means to grow.

Tandem Jump! See below.
Currently enrolled in a Master's Degree program, Captain Klein expects to be in the WTU for an additional 18-24 months and is "Ready and Resilient" for that next step!  Cheers for both Flip and Jessica and best wishes for many years to celebrate together. 

During my research for this article I found the Warrior Transition Command blog with great articles and information to share with others about our wounded heroes! Great reading and positive information for many.

Another great read is the article "101 Ways to Thank A Veteran" by the MilitaryAvenue.com team. 

Are you in the DC area?  Come cheer on our heroes at a Sitting Volleyball Tournament at the Pentagon on November 21st. 

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Photo Credit: Capt. Edward Klein, a triple amputee, was wounded in Afghanistan, October 22, 2012. Jessica Klein, who has always been by his side, catches some sleep next to her husband, Army Capt. Edward Klein, in the Walter Reed ICU. An infantryman, at the time of his injury, Klein was Company Commander for Bravo Company, 4-23IN, 2 SCBT, 2ID out of Joint Base Lewis McCord. Photo by CPT Andrew McIndoe

Photo Credit: 7. Walking cutline: Capt. Edward Klein demonstrates an extraordinary recovery as he walks July 10. 2012 at the WRNMMC Military Advanced Training Center with new prosthetics. Photo by Jessica Klein

Photo Credit: Capt. Klein executing a tandem skydive 17Sep2012 at Skydive Suffolk. The event, Jump for a Purpose, was sponsored by Wounded Wear and Operation Enduring Warrior to support wounded warrior goal setting and community reintegration. Photo by Skydive Suffolk


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