A Challenging Life - Headlines

Wounded Warrior Overcomes Battles

By: Deanna Bettineschi Email
By: Deanna Bettineschi Email

 “At that point my main goal was that we was still alive. And he was still alive even though he had been injured severely. But it was a sinking in your heart, a fear of the dread to know that something bad has happened.” Mike McDuffie said.
 

Mark Mcduffie's family just had a bad feeling.
While the Geneva native had already served two tours in Iraq, something about his third just didn't seem right.

A little more than five years ago, air force special agent mark McDuffie, woke up to do a job he's done many times before.

“I was part of an intelligence team that was there to collect forensics off of all road side bombs, explosive devices so we can educate the other soldiers that are on the ground so they don’t become a fatality or injured.” Mark McDuffie said.

But preventing those fatalities and injuries was about to get a lot more difficult.

“It was about 9 in the morning and we received a call, we call it a 9 line which means they found an IED in the middle of the street in downtown Rahmadi Iraq.
Once we got on target the IED actually exploded at that time. Killing two individuals in our crew and leaving me as a sole survivor. “ McDuffie said.

What followed would be numerous surgeries and a parent's nightmare.

“That day as I saw my other son and his commanding officer come into my office i knew that something had happened.” Mark’s dad, Mike McDuffie said.

“You think the worst, but you can’t imagine the worst. I mean you can’t really let yourself entertain that idea.” Marks Stepmom Juvonne McDuffie said.

The good news...McDuffie had survived the blast.
The bad news...his feet were destroyed by it.

“At that point my main goal was that we was still alive. And he was still alive even though he had been injured severely. But it was a sinking in your heart, a fear of the dread to know that something bad has happened.” Mike McDuffie said.

And mark's parents say through some miracle, McDuffie was able to keep both of his feet.

“It doesn’t matter if they're whole or not. There’s so much more to us that our physical bodies.” Juvonne said.

But to mark, the mental challenges seemed to be the worst.

“The hardest part I could say is guilt. Why did I survive and everyone else was killed that day?” Mark said.

He went to visit the families of his fellow soldiers, hoping to make peace with them and himself.

“That day there was two things we could do. We could sit around and feel sorry for ourselves or we could continue to go on.
And I feel like the guys that were killed that day would want me to go on and share their message. “ Mark said.

That is just one of the reasons McDuffie continues to work on his physical and mental health.

“You have to focus on not what you've lost, but what you have left and what you can build on.” Juvonne said.

“Hey, life is full of ups and downs and it’s what you make of them.” Mark said.

Since his accident, McDuffie has helped other wounded warriors overcome battles.
He started wounded warrior fishing, to allow wounded warriors like himself...to have a peaceful day on the water...and talk with other people who have gone through a similar experience.


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