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February 1, 2014

Soldier recognized at State of the Union has local ties

Wounded Army Ranger recognized at State of the Union has local ties

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Cory was thrown into a water-filled ditch. His comrades pulled him out, but he wasn’t breathing.

This particular mission included a medic, quite unusual but fortunately timed. The severe damage to Cory’s skull didn’t deter the medic and his comrades from working quickly to resuscitate him.

He was taken by helicopter to Kandahar, then to Bagram for surgery and eventually moved to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where he was reunited with his family, including Shelby, who was an Army nurse and officer.  

After two weeks, still in a coma, he was transported stateside to Bethesda Naval Hospital. That was followed by many surgeries, as he struggled to recover from the shrapnel wounds to his brain.

He was transferred to James Haley VA Hospital in Tampa for rehab, then to Casa Colina in Pomona, Calif., eventually moving to the transitional living center there.

AMAZING GAINS

Some days during recovery were good, some not so good, but Cory never gave up.

He moved back to Arizona last spring and is now living on his own, a short distance from his parents, waiting to purchase a home that will be renovated for him.

To know Cory is to love him. To know his family is to love them, too.

Craig and Anne put their lives on hold to be by Cory’s bedside and at his rehab sessions. They work together, always mindful that he has made amazing strides in his recovery but that he isn’t the only wounded soldier out there.

‘NEVER EASY’

During President Obama’s State of the Union address, he recognized Cory’s determination to recover from his war injuries. Cory received a long-lasting standing ovation from everyone in the room.

“My fellow Americans, men and women like Cory remind us that America has never come easy,” Obama said. “Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy. Sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged. But for more than 200 years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress — to create and build and expand the possibilities of individual achievement.” 

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