This year just like last year you were gracious enough to forward us a large box of merchandise for our raffle at our annual Veterans Appreciation Picnic! Everything went well and the items you sent us were snatched up almost immediately.
I had contacted the local Marine Corps Recruiting station and advised them that we would like them to join us as we were honoring "one of our own". The SNCOIC, SSGT Lariosa didn't even hesitate he said "My MARINES will be there sir!" When the 3 young MARINES arrived I found it hard to believe that they came in dress blues. When I asked them why one of them said "You did say we were honoring one of our own didn't you Gunny?" They all looked like baby's but then I remember all those years ago where the same was said about us.
The young man we were honoring was Cpl of Marines Joshua Hotaling. In 2012 as a 20 year old Marine he was doing "Sweeper Duty", looking for IED's and any other unexploded ordinance that could hurt him or his fellow Marines. Well sure as h-ll he missed one. Joshua lost both of his legs and had severe and traumatic injuries to his arms, chest, and hands! His mother told me that when he came to, two weeks later in a hospital in Germany his first words were "Is my team alright?" Spoken like a true MARINE! I have to tell you that as I told his story I had to really fight the emotions.
As you can see by the pictures, I have included he gets around pretty well but still has his days as he calls them. Ever since meeting this young man I have said that I wish I could meet the creators of the cartoon G.I Joe Greatest American Hero because I would certainly would have brought them to this picnic and introduced them to a "Real American Hero!
In closing I again thank you for all that you have done to help make our picnic great and we hope to speak with you when we start getting ready for next year's picnic! Oh and by the way, I asked Cpl Hotaling if he really had a disability and he said "No sir Gunny, just an inconvenience." The tears then really flowed!