Veterans injured in Afghanistan blast reunite after 5 years - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Veterans injured in Afghanistan blast reunite after 5 years

SCOTTSDALE, AZ (CBS5) -

Four veterans wounded in Afghanistan got to see each other for Friday night for the first time since their Humvee was attacked five years ago.

The emotional reunion took place at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, and was made possible by the Valley based nonprofit Friends of Freedom.

"I try to move on, said Mike Brown of Chicago and the driver of the armored vehicle. "But, that day – on Sept. 24 – that's a life changer."

On Sept. 24, 2008, four Americans - three national guardsmen and one contractor for the State Department - were on a mission south of Kabul when their Humvee was blown up by the Taliban.

"We were out on a normal patrol," said Mike Downing of Boston. "I was up on the gun, taking my turn, and one thing led to another."

The blast ejected the men from their vehicle - severely injuring all of them.

But, some of the men managed to remain conscious and fire at the enemy - helping to save the team.

"The only reason in the world that I'm alive is these guys fought like crazy and protected all of us," said Steve Martin of the Phoenix area.

Steve Martin, Steve Kingan, Mike Downing and Mike Brown were flown back to hospitals in the U.S. for treatment and recovery.

Martin and Downing both lost their legs, but not their spirit.

The men have stayed in contact over the years through phones calls, texts and emails.

But, Friday was the first time since they were ambushed on an Afghan desert road - that these heroes have been able shake hands, give hugs and reminisce in person.

"For us to be together after what we've been through is – it's joyful," said Brown.

"It's almost a relief," said Downing. "Cause you can see everyone is still doing well."

"It needed to be done," said Kingan, of Nampa, ID, about the reunion. "It needed to be done."

In addition to the reunion, one of the men got a special gift from Friends of Freedom - a Mobility U.S.A. outdoor, four-wheel drive wheelchair.

Downing will now have access to his many acres of land, near Cape Cod, for the first time in five years.

"Now I'll actually be able to go out and explore it - see what's out there," said Downing. "I can maybe go hunting on my own property – and, keep those who do don't belong there off my property."

If you'd like to make a donation to Friends of Freedom, visit their website.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

 

  • NEWSMore>>

  • 5 dead after tornado, flooding from central US storms

    5 dead after tornado, flooding from central US storms

    Sunday, February 25 2018 2:25 AM EST2018-02-25 07:25:46 GMT
    Sunday, February 25 2018 8:16 PM EST2018-02-26 01:16:38 GMT
    (Liz Dufour/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP). A view from the Central Bridge shows the flooding from the Ohio River  Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 in Cincinnati.  Forecasters expected the Ohio River could reach levels not seen since the region's deadly 1997 f...(Liz Dufour/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP). A view from the Central Bridge shows the flooding from the Ohio River Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 in Cincinnati. Forecasters expected the Ohio River could reach levels not seen since the region's deadly 1997 f...

    A man in northeast Arkansas and a woman in south central Kentucky both were killed as the storm that also included strong winds, hail and heavy rain that triggered flooding muscled its way through the area, according to authorities.

    More >>

    A man in northeast Arkansas and a woman in south central Kentucky both were killed as the storm that also included strong winds, hail and heavy rain that triggered flooding muscled its way through the area, according to authorities.

    More >>
  • Political end to Olympics: NKorea offers talks with US

    Political end to Olympics: NKorea offers talks with US

    Sunday, February 25 2018 2:16 AM EST2018-02-25 07:16:08 GMT
    Sunday, February 25 2018 8:06 PM EST2018-02-26 01:06:59 GMT
    (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). A volunteer walks in a foggy Pyeongchang Olympic Plaza during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). A volunteer walks in a foggy Pyeongchang Olympic Plaza during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.

    Pyeongchang closes its chapter of the modern Olympics on Sunday night with tales of detente and competitive grit and volunteerism and verve.

    More >>

    Pyeongchang closes its chapter of the modern Olympics on Sunday night with tales of detente and competitive grit and volunteerism and verve.

    More >>
  • Beulah Grove Baptist Church holds annual Talent Extravaganza

    Beulah Grove Baptist Church holds annual Talent Extravaganza

    Sunday, February 25 2018 7:51 PM EST2018-02-26 00:51:20 GMT

    As Black History Month comes to a close, Beulah Grove Baptist Church held their annual Black History Month Talent Extravaganza. Their theme this year was “Because of them, we can” to educate youth about their heritage and to continue the legacy of their historic leaders.

    More >>

    As Black History Month comes to a close, Beulah Grove Baptist Church held their annual Black History Month Talent Extravaganza. Their theme this year was “Because of them, we can” to educate youth about their heritage and to continue the legacy of their historic leaders.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly